The company RetuRO Sistem Garantie Returnare S.A. has become the administrator of the deposit-return system in Romania, through a Government Decision issued yesterday.
The legal framework that establishes the way of implementing the deposit-return system (DRS) was adopted in October 2021, through GD 1074/2021. At the operationalization level, DRS will be the largest packaging collection and recycling project nationwide.
”The implementation of the deposit-return system in Romania is an objective that we have been working on for several years and we are glad that RetuRO has been confirmed as the administrator of this system. It is perhaps the most important moment in the journey of implementing the system so far. From this point forward, we can start carrying out the operational steps, such as hiring the RetuRO directorate, initiating discussions to finance the system, starting the registration of beverages producers and retailers, as well as developing the logistics network of the system. In addition to the preparations we are making, the success of RetuRO also depends on the involvement of consumers, but we are confident that the results will be as expected. Together, we can collect and subsequently recycle beverages packaging, and thus contribute to the achievement of the largest circular economy project in Romania,” says Alice Nichita, President of the Association of Soft Beverages Producers for Sustainability, shareholder of RetuRO.
RetuRO Sistem Garantie Returnare S.A. was established by the representative associations of beverages producers and retailers to manage the deposit-return system, which is currently being implemented in Romania. The firm was founded as a company based on the not-for-profit principle, which means that, through the articles of incorporation, it undertook the obligation to reinvest any profit exclusively in the development of the system.
”We are one step closer to implementing what we believe is Romania’s most important environmental project, meant to position us on the map of advanced countries in terms of the collection and recycling of packaging. We are talking about a large-scale project that aims to introduce beverages packaging in a circular economy and thus contribute to a cleaner country. Next, it is necessary to adopt the complete legislative package that will allow us to start all the processes necessary for the implementation of the deposit-return system, so that it becomes functional as soon as possible. If until now we have discussed in theoretical terms, from today on we start the practical process of the operationalization of DRS nationwide,” says Julia Leferman, General Manager of the Romanian Brewers Association for the Environment, shareholder of RetuRO.
Currently, the company has three private shareholders: the Association of Soft Beverages Producers for Sustainability, the Association of Romanian Brewers for the Environment and the Association of Retailers for the Environment, and a public shareholder, the Romanian state, through the central environmental authority, which owns 20% of the shares.
”The moment that we have all been waiting for has come, we finally have the chance to implement an efficient system for collecting beverages packaging in Romania. The deposit-return system is a unique project nationwide, which should operate fluidly from the very first day after its implementation. RetuRO still has many steps to take until it becomes functional, but we believe that we can develop together with the producers a circular economy project that is coherent and clear for each Romanian consumer,” says Maria Maxim, President of the Association of Retailers for the Environment, shareholder of RetuRO.
With the receipt of the licensing from the Romanian Government, RetuRO Sistem Garantie Returnare S.A. begins to take the first steps for the operational implementation of the system in Romania, which is estimated at a period of approximately 18 months. Soon, the company is going to start carrying out the following activities in order to implement DRS:
- Administrative: finalizing the administrative processes, recruiting the company’s staff and selecting suppliers;
- Financing: finalizing the documents, requesting and obtaining the necessary funding for the implementation of the system;
- Infrastructure: development and implementation of the IT infrastructure, but also of the operational infrastructure. RetuRO’s obligations include the installation of sorting and counting centers for packaging collected through the system, while the organization of packaging collection centers from consumers is the responsibility of retailers;
- Registration in the system: registration of all beverages producers and importers, as well as retailers. This process involves the signing of approximately 100,000 contracts;
- Automatic equipment: ordering automatic collection equipment, testing and installation of the automatic collection equipment by retailers;
- Communication campaign: implementing a communication campaign nationwide, for consumers.
The deposit-return system
The deposit-return system is a system in which Romanians will pay a deposit of 0.50 RON when they buy a drink (water, soft drinks, beer, wine, spirits) from a retailer. The system applies to non-reusable primary glass, plastic or metal packaging, with volumes ranging from 0.1 L to 3 L inclusively. After emptying the package, the consumer will have to bring it to one of the return points organized by retailers, practically, in any store in Romania. In exchange for empty packaging, the consumer will receive, on the spot, the amount of the deposit initially paid, without the need to present the tax receipt. The purpose of this system is to introduce packaging into a circular economy, helping Romania to reach the national collection and recycling targets set at European level that require, for example, that by 2025, 77% of the PET bottles on the market be collected, and by 2029 – 90%. The system will also help to achieve and even exceed the new collection and recycling targets for the rest of the types of materials, namely 75% for glass and 60% for aluminum, from 2030 onwards.
Shareholders of RetuRO Sistem Garantie Returnare S.A.
The Association of Beverages Producers for Sustainability, the Association of Romanian Brewers for the Environment and the Association of Retailers for the Environment are associations established specifically to ensure the implementation, management, operation and financing of the deposit-return system (DRS) Romania, as shareholders within RetuRO Sistem Garanție Returnare S.A. Their purpose is to contribute, by all legal means, to the sustainable development of Romania, through the responsible management of packaging and packaging waste in order to prevent and reduce their impact on the environment.