Gemma Webb appointed CEO of deposit-return system administrator RetuRO
Gemma Webb has been appointed CEO and chair of the Board of Directors of RetuRO Sistem Garanție Returnare S.A., the company designated as the administrator of the deposit-return system (DRS) in Romania.
She has over 25 years of experience in both B2B and B2C across a range of industries, including FMCG, chemical, plastic packaging, print, tobacco, and waste management services.
In her new role, Webb will coordinate the implementation and management of the deposit-return system in Romania. In the immediate period ahead, she will build the management team and finalize the necessary funding for RetuRO's operational work, which will include the construction of several centers at regional level to count, sort and prepare returned packaging for recycling.
The Deposit-Return System (DRS) is set to become operational from November 2023, and consumers will be able to return plastic, glass, or metal drinks packaging to retailers.
DRS is a system where Romanians will pay a RON 0.50 guarantee when they buy a drink (water, soft drinks, beer, cider, wine, spirits) from a retailer. The scheme applies to non-refillable primary packaging with volumes between 0.1 l and 3 l inclusive. After emptying the packaging, the consumer will have to bring it to one of the return points organized by the retailers in their outlets. In exchange for the empty beverage containers, the consumer will receive back, on the spot, the amount of the guarantee originally paid without being required to present the receipt.
"It is a privilege to be part of the very first steps of an organization that will put Romania on the map of the circular economy, creating a sustainable ecosystem for society and the environment. Together with the founding members of RetuRO, the representative associations of producers and retailers, as well as the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests, I am convinced that we will succeed in implementing a system that will support Romania in reaching the targets for packaging collection and recycling set at European level. The launch of this model, which supports the objectives of a circular packaging waste management system, increasing the quantity and quality of waste collected for recycling, is an important step that can turn Romania into a model of excellence," Webb said.
"The challenge ahead of us is very ambitious, and it starts with registering around 4,000 drinks producers and importers and over 80,000 traders in the system. DRS will manage approximately six billion beverage containers annually and provide consumers with a simple and enjoyable experience when it comes to returning these empty beverage containers," she added.
RetuRO Sistem Garanție Returnare S.A. was created by a consortium of three private shareholders: The Romanian Brewers Association for the Environment, the Association of Soft Drinks Producers for Sustainability, and the Retailers Association for the Environment and one public shareholder, the Romanian State, through the central environmental authority, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests.
RetuRO will ensure transparency on the quantities of beverage packaging placed on the market and returned by consumers, "contributing to Romania's sustainable development through the responsible management of packaging waste to achieve the recycling targets imposed on Romania by the European Union."
(Photo courtesy of the company)