In 2025, the Flemish region will introduce a deposit on plastic beverage bottles and cans. Environment minister Zuhal Demir will opt for a digital system, at the request of producers and retailers.
A code for every bin
While there will be a deposit on plastic drinks containers (bottles up to 3 litres) and cans, consumers will not have to physically return the containers to shops. Instead, each drink container will have a code, which people can scan. Recycling bins will also be given such a code: if consumers scan both codes (at home as well as on the road), they will get the money deposited into their account.
The system was an proposal by the industry: retailers, producers and waste processors joined forces and had PwC work out the solution in a feasibility study. Originally, they opposed the introduction because collection would require a lot of extra effort and adjustments. However, they are now persuaded and they are even calling on the other two Belgian regions (Wallonia and Brussels) to embrace the digital deposit as well.
Pilot projects in 2023
Minister Demir is now also in favour, but warns that the planning to be operational in 2025 must not be compromised, Belgian newspaper De Morgen reports. The digital system must be ready by then and have proven to function better than traditional collection methods. Next year, pilot projects will have to try and answer questions about accessibility for seniors and vulnerability to fraud, among others.
The Flemish government is currently considering a deposit of 20 to 25 eurocents per package. In time, the system might also be extended to glass and beverage cartons, but this is still being investigated further.