Costs and benefits of deposits on cans and small bottles

The current Dutch deposit system on packaging items covers large PET bottles, returnable beer bottles and small returnable soft-drinks bottles sold in snack bars and other such outlets. Other types of packaging are excluded. CE Delft was commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment to carry out a study to assess the costs and (environmental) impacts of introducing a deposit on cans and small bottles. The information is to be used as input for a comparison of alternatives in policy deliberations. The results of the study are set out in this report.

To obtain a complete picture, eight possible variants were investigated, reflecting differences in deposit level (10 or 25 Euro cents), collection points (supermarkets only, or all retail outlets) and type of packaging (plastic bottles and cans only, or one-way glass, too). Estimates were made of the net annual costs of each variant, cost coverage via unreturned packaging, cost savings relative to current systems, impacts on litter and improvements vis-à-vis recycling and CO2 reduction.