The introduction of a deposit system in Bulgaria is at the stage of analysis

27 Feb, 2024 | 15:32

Minister of Environment and Water Julian Popov participated in a follow-up meeting with representatives of stakeholders to report on the progress of introducing a deposit system for certain packaging waste in Bulgaria. The system will at a minimum include beverage packaging for bottled water, soft drinks, beer and cider from 0.1 to 3 litres of plastic, metal, and glass.

In front of representatives of industry organisations - the Bulgarian Industrial Association, soft drink producers and brewers, recyclers, retailers, packaging waste recovery organisations, the Bulgarian Association for Consumer Protection, Minister Popov stressed that the priority for the Ministry of Environment and Water is to return these packaging as a resource back into the economy, to be recycled and recovered.

During the discussion, the Terms of Reference for the analysis "Introduction of a new model for separate collection of packaging waste in Bulgaria" were finalised.

The objective of the analysis is to select and justify a logistics organisation for the implementation of the deposit system in Bulgaria, respecting the principles of effectiveness and efficiency of the system, convenience and fair access for users, cost-effectiveness and the lowest environmental footprint when choosing among the alternatives. The timeframe for preparing the analysis is three months after the signing of the contract and the results will be subject to a broad public discussion with all stakeholders.

Minister Popov highlighted the need for the document to be discussed in the context of the broadest public debate possible, as the introduction and functioning of the system in practice affects all citizens of the country. On his initiative, workshops are planned in the coming weeks with operators of deposit systems in other countries with similar characteristics and needs.

In the meantime, the stakeholders agreed to continue the work on the development of the proposals for legislative amendments to define the structure of the deposit system in Bulgaria.

The deposit system is the most effective method for collecting clean and high quality recyclable materials. Its introduction will complement the current systems that implements the principle of extended producer responsibility, will increase the possibility of meeting the recycling targets set for EU countries and will reduce landfilling.

Citizens will pay a deposit which will be included in the price of the beverage and the deposit will be refunded when the empty container is returned to the locations designated by the deposit system operator. Packages that are part of the deposit system will be protected by a unique code, which will prevent the same bottle from being submitted to the system multiple times.