USAD - Lithuania's Reverse Vending Machines - credit for plastic

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In February 2016, the government of Lithuania implemented a “deposit return system”, to give consumers an incentive to return used beverage containers for recycling. To combat litter and increase collection and recycling rates, consumers would pay a deposit amount of €0.10 when purchasing eligible drink containers, to be refunded when the empty container is returned for recycling.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Environment initiated the deposit process in April 2013, passing amendments to the packaging law through parliament a year later. The legislation applies to glass, non-refillable plastic and metal beverage containers.

To make returns convenient for customers, the Lithuanian government chose a 'return-to-retail' system which means stores selling beverage containers must also receive used containers back for recycling. Consumers are refunded their deposit as vouchers that can be redeemed in store as cash or credit toward their shopping bill, bringing additional foot traffic into stores.

Packaging can be returned throughout most of Lithuania, with this option available in shops with an area of more than 300 m2 or village shops. 

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Identified challenge (s)
Main results
  • 2 163 370 953 packages have been returned since 2016.
  • 56 000 tonnes of material have been collected since 2016, equal to 6 Eiffel Towers.
  • 97% of consumers are satisfied with the system.
  • 97% of the population claimed the deposit system is neccessary.
  • 93% of consumers admitted that the introduction of such a system encouraged them to treat their waste more responsibly. 
  • The 2025 targets set by the Lithuanian Government have already been reached and surpassed.
  • Since the start of the system Lithuania has prevented 152 400 tonnes of CO2 emissions.