In February 2016, the government of Lithuania implemented a “deposit return system”, to give consumers an incentive to return used beverage containers for recycling. To combat litter and increase collection and recycling rates, consumers would pay a deposit amount of €0.10 when purchasing eligible drink containers, to be refunded when the empty container is returned for recycling.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Environment initiated the deposit process in April 2013, passing amendments to the packaging law through parliament a year later. The legislation would apply to glass, non-refillable plastic and metal beverage containers, 0.1 to 3 litres in size.
By the end of 2016, 99.8% of the Lithuanian public were aware of the deposit system, with 89% having used it at least once. 58% of consumers reported recycling more and 78% believed the deposit system is good and necessary. Prior to the scheme, only one-third of all beverage containers in Lithuania were returned. USAD had a goal of a 55% return rate in 2016 and far exceeded that mark with 74.3% of all beverage containers returned for recycling. The return rate reached a huge 91.9% by the end of 2017.
“We feel an obligation to take care of our country, society and nature. That is why we wanted to design a deposit return system that would work as well as possible for citizens, producers, importers and traders,” states Saulius Galadauskas, Head of the Lithuanian Brewers Association and Chairman of USAD. “We can be proud of our deposit return system, which brings us closer to the Lithuania we want to see – a cleaner, more beautiful and more modern country.”