Romania inaugurates first regional PET bottle sorting center part of Deposit-Refund System
The first regional packaging counting and sorting center was inaugurated in Bonțida, near Cluj-Napoca, three days before Romania is set to implement the Deposit-Refund System. Sorted by color, plastic bottles have begun to be recycled at the first regional center on November 27.
The center is the first step towards implementing the Deposit-Return System, under which Romanians will pay a RON 0.5 deposit when buying a beverage and will only get their money back when they return the bottle, plastic, or aluminum packaging.
Starting from November 30, when the system becomes operational, new packaging that is part of the program will appear on the market. They will be distinctively marked with the Packaging with Guarantee logo. Until June of next year, packaging without the symbol of the program will also be collected.
“I believe it is a historic moment that will mark the beginning of Romania's most ambitious circular economy project and the strength of the first functional public-private partnership," said Romanian prime minister Marcel Ciolacu, quoted by Euronews Romania.
He added that the Deposit-Refund System is probably "the most important country-wide project in this field in the last 30 years" carried out by the Government in collaboration with the private sector.
"The launch of DRS will position Romania in a European leadership position in environmental protection and packaging management. Romania's DRS will be the second-largest system of its kind in Europe (...) after Germany, in terms of the number of processed packages. At the same time, we represent a global premiere - the largest integrated system of its kind, and we hope it will become a case study for governments worldwide," added Ciolacu.
Following the Bonțida center, 16 other regional centers are set to open in the next year. The next on the list are those in Timiș, Bacău, and Bucharest.
According to authorities, establishing collection centers will lead to the creation of over 600 new jobs by the end of next year and will stimulate similar investments in transportation and recycling.
"Every store, whether big or small, whether in urban or rural areas, will be a collection point. This means that citizens can return used beverage packaging there to recover their respective deposit,” said Romanian environment minister Mircea Fechet.
Although Romania puts 7 billion aluminum cans, bottles, and PETs on the market annually, it ranks at the bottom of the recycling chart, alongside Greece and Malta.
The Deposit-Refund System has already been implemented in other 13 European Countries.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos | Simion Sebastian Tataru)