Deposits on small plastic bottles. Impacts of legislative options

The Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is currently developing legislation for introduction of a deposit on small plastic bottles, for potential roll-out if in autumn 2020 either of two targets have not yet been met: 70-90% fewer such bottles in litter or 90% recycling through industry efforts. There are broadly two ways to implement a deposit system:

  1. A ‘retail variant’ in which retailers of beverages in small plastic bottles covered by the deposit system are responsible for charging and return intake.
  2. A ‘producer variant’ in which producers/importers bear this responsibility.

The aim of the study is to analyse the practical pros and cons of the two variants. Relevant aspects include government enforceability, clarity for consumers, impact on litter and cost. An assessment was also made of how long introduction of a deposit system will take and of floor-space-based exemptions.