Deposit on cans: everything you need to know

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The deposit on cans in the Netherlands is a fact. After long debating and a serious penalty of a 28 million euro fine, the deposit on cans operation is now fully in place. 

Positive Results so far

Since the introduction of the deposit system, the amount of litter in the Netherlands has significantly decreased. The number of small plastic bottles found in litter dropped by 63% from the first half of 2020 to the first half of 2023. The system has also successfully collected a large number of cans within the first year, showing a rapid increase in consumer participation and awareness. While the ultimate goal of 90% collection has not yet been fully achieved, the system is making great strides. To continue improving, efforts are underway to extend collection points, making it even more convenient for consumers to return their deposit items.

In this article, we will explain the benefits and responsibilities of participating in this national initiative.

When deposits on cans were introduced

Starting on the 1st of April 2023, the Netherlands introduced a national deposit system. You might have heard about it on the news, in a commercial spot, or from your neighbor. The announcement of the new deposit system was accompanied by much fanfare, and not without reason. It was time for a change. Introducing a deposit system helps prevent the yearly 2 billion cans from ending up in nature. A lot of the waste ends up in our oceans and negatively affects our flora and fauna. If we do not change our ways, there will soon be more waste than fish in our oceans. A sad milestone, which we do not want to reach. 
Some key facts:

Results of the deposit system

In the Netherlands, we have already had a deposit system for glass bottles and plastic bottles for several years. Now, however, the deposit on cans has been added. Now people can start collecting small beverage cans and hand them in for a small deposit of 15 cents.

Every year, more than 150 million cans of waste end up in nature. And this number has been rapidly increasing.

The social objective of the deposit system is to collect valuable material separately so that it can be reused for new cans or other useful applications. It helps in bringing about a more circular economy. In addition, it directly affects the amount of waste in nature, as it is expected to significantly reduce the proportion of cans in litter bins.

Intake points for small cans and bottles

According to the website of the Dutch government, there are more than 17,000 intake points for cans. Intake points for cans can be the supermarket, the gym, the theatre, and many more.

Supermarkets and tank stations are obliged to collect cans, while other entrepreneurs can voluntarily register as a collection point. Why would you do that? If helping nature isn’t enough motivation, maybe the savings on waste costs, charity support, and litter prevention are good incentives for registering as a collection point.

Register as a collection point

If your company is not a supermarket or tank station, you are not obliged to distribute deposits. As quite often it is not very feasible for companies or entrepreneurs to set up a full payout system for the deposit. In this case, companies can choose to donate the proceeds from the collected cans and bottles to charity. You can choose this via this link. Choose a goal that fits the company’s mission. When you register as a collection point, you pass on the choice to Statiegeld Nederland, and you receive labels for the collection bags.

Please note that it is forbidden to keep the proceeds of the deposit itself.

The deposit obligation applies to all metal drinking packaging. As a non-mandatory collection point, you are free to choose a collection bin yourself. You can customize this with your company brand or slogan or let your creativity run wild.

statiegeld logo

Conditions at collecting cans

All deposit cans can be recognized by the deposit logo (see the image above). The deposit obligation applies to cans for both alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, mixed drinks) and non-alcoholic beverages (soft drinks, water, juice, etc.). The deposit obligation does not apply to cans that are not directly intended for drinking, such as soup, condensed milk, or lemonade syrup.

There are some conditions for collecting cans. It is important that the cans have an undamaged barcode and the can is still in good condition, meaning the can is not damaged or squashed, as the cans need to be processed by the reverse vending machines (RVMs).

Businesses interested in participating should note that the handling fee and logistics costs are covered to ensure the collection points can operate effectively.

The video below from Afvalverpakkingen explains more about the deposit system for cans: 

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