Published on 25. April 2022
RMe company news
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PRESS RELEASE – recycling economy / recycling / one-way deposit, Vienna, 21st of April 2022
As of 2025, Austria will introduce a one-way deposit return system on plastic beverage bottles and aluminum cans. RecycleMe, the international consultancy in the field of Circular Economy, presents a possible model of the deposit return system which combines flexibility with digital and hybrid approach and as such has the potential to achieve a return rate of far more than 90%. By doing so, recyclable materials can be kept in the cycle, which is indispensable in times of increasingly scarce natural resources. “The deposit return system of the future focuses on consumers and combines traditional return options with digitally supported solutions. It also provides participating manufacturers fair access to valuable raw materials,” declared Stefan Siegl, Head of Digital Innovation at the RecyceMe GmbH.
Flexible, digital and hybrid – it is only if the future deposit return system in Austria meets these three requirements that the highest possible collection rate of well above 90 percent and therefore the urgently needed return of all recyclable materials to the cycle can be achieved. Thereby, every additional percentage point in collection brings around 24 million packages back into the cycle every year! “The deposit model recommended by RecycleMe primarily offers consumers flexibility: they should be able to return their deposit bottles and cans at any time, whether it’s during the day, on weekends, or after hours,” Siegl said. The deposit return is made regardless of location: at home, on the way, in supermarkets, train stations, pedestrian zones or waste material collection centers. Traditional deposit return systems, such as the ones operated in Germany, do not offer this flexibility. Although Germany has the highest collection rates in the world at 98 percent, the remaining two percent signify that over 700 million beverage containers are not returned in Germany every year, which in turn leaves millions of euros with the deposit operating companies. Accordingly, the future deposit model under RecycleMe’s vision is more closely aligned with trends and developments in trade: Austrians are, after all, increasingly flexible shoppers – according to a recent study by the trade association, online shopping grew by 20 percent last year alone.
Modern trade is also increasingly mobile – sales from mobile shopping in Austria have more than tripled since 2018. “A modern deposit return system must also provide this convenience: Mobile apps for consumers in addition to smart containers and hand scanners for smaller stores are examples of modern return solutions which a modern deposit return model must offer besides return machines in supermarkets,” emphasizes Stefan Siegl. The very core of RecycleMe’s vision is the networking of all return solutions and the combination of classic deposit return machines with useful apps and additional return locations. “The hybrid approach makes it possible for everyone – whether technically oriented or physically immobile – to return deposit bottles and cans without difficulty,” Siegl explains.
A modern deposit return system is differentiated in line with specific target groups, convenient and is self-financed – through a producer contribution and the sale of the collected recyclables. Despite new and individual return options offered to consumers, there are no extra costs for the disposal of their packaging. Unclaimed deposit, which occurs to non-returned packaging, is sustainably reinvested in modern deposit return solutions and educational work to increase the take-back rate continuously further. Aid money should also be used for the implementation of modern approaches. “At RecycleMe, we provide a full-service consulting to all stakeholders from industry, associations, and politics to help them implementing an innovative deposit return system. Our international network of experts, our technical expertise and already successfully realized pilot projects of digital solutions provide us with the necessary tools. We would like to contribute our ideas and in-depth market knowledge to realize the vision of a modern deposit return system in Austria together with partners along the entire value-added chain,” says Stefan Siegl.
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