Romania is launching a new “green” initiative from November 30 – shops in the country that sell drinks will be obliged to accept back plastic and glass bottles and metal packaging and pay customers 0.50 lei (0.10 euros) each. for each returned packaging.
It is about the deposit system for used packaging, which exists in many European countries, notes Radio Free Europe-Romania. The system, which in Romania bears the name RetuRO, was created in its initial phase by the associations of beverage producers and traders in the country, and later the Romanian state became involved.
The edition “Panorama” comments that this will be an additional effort for both customers and merchants, but the bet is worth it, because it is about the cleanliness of the environment.
With the new system, known as the “return guarantee”, the packaging will now be “a treasure, not a burden”, the publication states, specifying that the program applies to glass, metal or plastic bottles of soft or alcoholic drinks with a volume between 0, 10 liters and 3 liters inclusive, and to be easier to identify, the packages participating in the program will carry a special logo – SGR.
Does this mean “Goodbye to plastic bottles littered everywhere,” asked news site Hotnews, pointing out that from the end of November customers will pay a deposit of 50 baht (0.50 lei) when buying any drink from the store, and get their money back after returning the packaging. The publication seeks answers to the questions of what bottles can be returned, why you can’t bring old bottles that have been in the cellar for years, and whether any change will be seen immediately.
The site specifies that bottles of water, soft drinks, beer, cider, wine, spirits, mixed drinks will be accepted, but only if they bear the SGR logo printed on the label and the corresponding barcode. An important condition is to keep the label intact. You won’t be able, for example, to get money for the bottles you’ve been keeping in the basement for years and want to get rid of, Hotnews clarifies.
The publication states that the empty bottles will be able to be returned at any point specially created for the purpose, that is, at any store in Romania. In exchange for the empty packaging, the user will receive the value of the paid guarantee (50 baht) without the need to present the fiscal receipt or return the bottle to the same store where he bought the product. Merchants will have the right to decide how to collect packaging – automatically or manually, depending on customer flow, the site notes.
The value of 0.50 lei was chosen to be large enough to motivate the customer to return the packaging, but also small enough not to be perceived as a significant price increase. The guarantee is expected to remain at this fixed value for the first two to three years, but may be changed once people get used to the system, the publication added, noting that retailers are required to declare the value of the guarantee in the shelf price.
The edition “Panorama” quotes the eco-activist Andrei Kosulianu, who says that the new system is complex and ambitious for a country like Romania, because the SGR program has huge logistics behind it, which implies the collection every year of about 6 billion bottles – this means recycle several hundred million bottles per month.
He notes that difficulties are expected at first. “In the beginning, people will be confused. You will see customers who will not have noticed whether the bottles are with or without a logo. And misunderstandings will be created. The consumer will have a great responsibility – not to destroy the logo, which means practically confirming the guarantee. This system gives a person the freedom to decide about his own money,” he commented.
Kosulianu points out that from the moment the program comes into force, manufacturers will not be allowed to produce goods without the RetuRo logo, but nevertheless, there will continue to be large quantities of products without this logo in store warehouses for a long time, which will not be able to to be included in the recycling system against a deposit.
Radio Free Europe-Romania quotes Raul Pop, program director of the Ecoteca Association, which specializes in waste management and the circular economy, as saying that in this way Romanians will be encouraged to recycle and receive money at the same time.
He believes that with this program plastic bottles will be collected to a greater extent than before. “We will probably exceed 90 percent by the end of 2025. More or less, this is what the collection levels in other European countries show. Which is very good,” the representative of the association points out.
When asked if the value of the guarantee is not too small, Pop answers: “For ten bottles, you get 5 lei, that is, a loaf of bread.”