Observant shop-goers could already notice that more and more stores are now installing the new type of bottle recycling machines. The reason for this is that from next year, a mandatory deposit return system will be introduced in Hungary.
According to the currently known legislations from 1 January 2024, Hungary will introduce DRS, or Deposit Return System, which is a redemption system for products with mandatory redemption fees placed on the domestic market. The aim of the system is the more efficient and sustainable waste management. To achieve this, metal, plastic and glass packaging up to 3 litres will be returnable.
Although the changes will not be noticeable to consumers until next year, manufacturers and first distributors in Hungary are already preparing. For them, the consumer direct packaging subject to the mandatory deposit return system (DRS) will have to be registered with Mol Hulladékgazdálkodási Zrt (MOHU), the operator of the system, on a dedicated platform. Furthermore, these products/packaging must also be labelled with a new tag specifically created for the purpose of return.
The first round of product registration was already closed on 15 November, but this does not mean that there is nothing more for manufacturers to do. In the future, all beverage products made of plastic, metal or glass will have to be registered before they can be placed on the shelves.
However, according to unconfirmed press reports, it is possible that manufacturers will only be obliged to provide their products with the tags necessary for the return from 1 July instead of 1 January 2024, after a delay compared to the originally planned date.
The change does not apply to all products, as the packaging of milk and milk-based drinks will continue to be an exception and will not be returnable.
That is not the case of course. Products with the tag for return will appear on the shelves from the beginning of the year, but previously manufactured and packaged products will also remain on shelves. However, they will still be non-returnable.
We have often heard that bottles should not be thrown away with household waste. However, we can also say goodbye to the slogan "trample it flat".
From the beginning of next year, those who do not yet feel like environmental warriors will also think twice about what they do with empty bottles, but those who already use the specially designed plastic bins will also want to switch to bottle returning. The fact that they will have to pay a deposit of HUF 50 for some bottles and up to HUF 70 for others may be a motivating factor for everyone.
The aim, of course, is not to increase costs for customers. In any case, the fee paid will be returned to the customers' pockets after the returning. To this end, MOHU is setting up a network of automatic and manual return machines throughout the country. Eager shop-goers have already had a look at the first return machines.
Should you have any questions in relation to the above or to any further related issues, please do not hesitate to contact Germus & Partners Attorneys-At-Law.
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