Hungary has announced the introduction of a new deposit return scheme (DRS) for single-use drink container recycling.  

The scheme, which launched on 1 January 2024, is part of Hungary’s broader strategy to advance a circular economy and reduce litter.  

It also supports the implementation of extended producer responsibility and aims to meet the EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive. 

The directive requires a 90% collection rate for plastic beverage bottles by 2029.  

The DRS will encompass a range of single-use drink containers, excluding milk and milk-based beverages, from 0.1-litre sizes up to larger three-litre containers.  

Consumers will deposit Ft50 when purchasing an eligible drink, after which the deposit will be refunded post-return.

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Reverse vending machine (RVM) leader TOMRA has partnered with MOHU, the central system administrator for the scheme in Hungary, for this project.

To facilitate returns, TOMRA has installed more than one thousand high-volume RVMs across the country, particularly in medium to large retail settings such as supermarkets and hypermarkets.

These RVMs are designed to automatically identify, sort, and refund the correct amount for returned drink containers. 

TOMRA Hungary Collection managing director Dávid Bakos said: “We applaud Hungary’s bold steps toward a circular future, with today’s launch of the deposit return system a milestone in transforming waste management and promoting recycling.

“We look forward to working with MOHU further to secure solid public participation in the deposit return system and ensure a convenient network of return points for recycling.” 

Hungary’s DRS comes after the Australian state of Victoria, as well as Romania, launched new deposit return systems on 1 November and 30 November 2023, respectively.