At an international resource and waste management exhibition RWM in Birmingham, a presentation on the successful implementation of the Slovak Deposit Return System (DRS) took place in the presence of Ján Budaj, the Minister of Environment of the Slovak Republic. The presentation was given during the Thursday exhibition schedule on the keynote stage, in front of an international audience comprised of experts and professionals from environmental and waste management backgrounds.
The Minister’s presentation was a highly expected one since the United Kingdom is one of the European countries currently facing the challenge of launching a return deposit system. Lucia Morvai, the director of external affairs and communications for the non-profit „Deposit return system Administrator “, co-participated at the stage with additional insights about the system launch.
The deposit return project was launched in Slovakia on January 1, 2022, after an exceptionally short – ten months long – implementation process. Since then, it has collected 540 million plastic and aluminium packages, which comprise of around 67% of those supplied to the market. The performance has outpaced the initial analyses, while the common goal is to achieve a 90 percent recovery of beverage packaging by 2025, which is four years earlier than required by European legislation.
The Slovak deposit return system is technologically powered by a DRS solution of Sensoneo company. The solution integrates the data of all stakeholders, and executes all operations regarding registration, distribution, depositing and logistics in real-time. The lifecycle of each package is traceable from its launch on the market until it is returned in the form of recycled material for new bottles and cans. All operations are performed in real-time, and they include optimization of transport routes and logistics to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible.
The deposit return scheme allows consumers to return beverage packaging through reverse vending machines or handheld scanners, which are mostly utilized by smaller businesses. Currently, there are over 2900 collection points, with the number continuously growing. On average, consumers in Slovakia return 3,5 million packages daily.
Lucia Morvai, the Director of External Affairs and Communications at the non-profit organization Deposit Return System Administrator: „The RWM exhibition was a great platform to share out the experience of implementing the return deposit system in Slovakia, which is, I believe, truly valuable for countries that are currently in the stage of planning out their own nationwide system. We ourselves had the opportunity to learn from our colleagues from across Europe. Thanks to those collaborations and information sharing, we handled the implementation in such a short time. Deposit return systems keep evolving. Sharing knowledge is one of the ways we can support closing the loop and driving the transition toward a circular economy.”
Martin Basila, CEO and Co-Founder of Sensoneo adds: „The delivery of the nationwide Deposit Return System is one of our flagship projects. We are immensely proud of the fact that we could have participated on a project with such a positive impact on the environment in Slovakia. We are very pleased that this success story was presented by the minister himself, at the RWM exhibition, where we also regularly exhibit. We perceive a great interest in this topic on the international market, as well as on reverse logistic-based solutions. We are happy that we are also successfully establishing ourselves abroad with them – such as in Malta, where we successfully took part on the tender and delivered the solution in 3 months.