Economic Viability of the Deposit Refund System for Beverage Packaging Waste – Identification of Economic Drivers and System Modelling

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 9, Issue 3, 1090386
Daniel R. Schneider1 , Tihomir Tomić1, Rauno Raal2
1 Department of Energy, Power and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, University of Zagreb, I. Lučića 5, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
2 Earth Care OÜ, Taevakaare 16, Saku 75512, Estonia


A deposit refund system of management of packaging waste offers a possibility to ensure sufficient quantities of secondary materials for the production of fully recycled packaging. Such market-based systems have proven themselves with large amounts of collected and recovered waste packaging with a small amount of impurities, but they tend to exhibit high costs if the system is not optimized. Ideally, such a system should operate on a non-profit basis. Therefore, economic drivers are identified and economic analysis, as well as modelling of deposit refund system, is conducted to determine overall system costs. Model is used on the case study of Croatia, in which the system is designed from the beginning, not considering previous developments but the most efficient system design elements. Regarding different costs and revenues of the system, it was calculated that the average fee that producers and importers of the beverage packaging pay for the operation of the system, in an efficient deposit refund system in Croatia would be 1.11 cents EUR per packaging unit (with the return rate of 85%).

Keywords: Deposit refund system, Primary waste separation, Packaging waste, Recycling, Waste management system modelling, Economic analysis.

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