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New year, new DRS: Hungary begins recycling single-use drink containers with Tomra and Envipco machinery


New year, new DRS: Hungary begins recycling single-use drink containers with Tomra and Envipco machinery

Hungary has ushered in 2024 with the implementation of its deposit return system (DRS) for single-use drink containers, becoming the 15th European country to adopt this “transformative approach” to beverage container recycling.

Source: PackagingInsights

With Tomra, Envipco and the central system administrator for the DRS MOHU, Hungary aims to recycle 90% of plastic, glass bottles and metal beverage cans within three years in alignment with the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive.

The country has made 2000 medium and large redemption points, dubbed REpoints, available to consumers to ease the return of containers up to 3 L with a return mark for an exchange of HUF50 (~US$0.14).

Tomra has installed over 1,000 high-volume reverse vending machines (RVMs) across Hungary in urban settings at locations like supermarkets and hypermarkets. The RVMs automatically identify and sort the containers, contributing to the reduction of manual return efforts.

Meanwhile, Envipco has deployed over 700 RVMs with the ongoing Phase 1, including an additional potential of 1,600 RVMs and 2,000 machines in Phase 2, which are expected to be delivered in the next 12-24 months.

The initiative aligns with MOHU’s objectives to promote a circular economy and combat litter.

It’s important to emphasize that cooperation is needed to protect our environment. Everyone has a responsibility: beverage producers, consumers, retailers selling beverages and municipalities. We are looking forward to providing a high-performing DRS for our citizens together with strong support from our partners.

Szilvia Szabó, head of producer responsibility systems at MOHU

Container circularity

Hungary’s DRS launch follows similar initiatives in the Canadian state of Quebec, and Romania. Furthermore, the municipality of Aarhus, Denmark, collaborated with Tomra to establish a DRS for takeaway packaging in the city center. Meanwhile, the Netherlands expanded its bottle collection in early December by installing 5,400 points.

Dávid Bakos, managing director of Hungary at Tomra, emphasizes the collective responsibility of beverage producers, consumers, retailers and municipalities to protect the environment.

We applaud Hungary’s bold steps toward a circular future, with the launch of the DRS being 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.

Dávid Bakos, managing director of Hungary at Tomra

We are extremely proud and excited to be a key partner enabling the efficient return of beverage containers across Hungary, helping the country meet strict EU targets for a circular economy. Envipco has invested heavily across our entire value chain to secure a long-term commitment and success with our partners in all markets. Our strong partnership with MOHU is a testament to this success.

Envipco’s CEO, Simon Bolton

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