Czech retailers must offer return point for PET bottles

Customers will need to pay a deposit of about CZK 5 when purchasing a soft drink or alcoholic beverage.


Written by ČTK Published on 17.05.2023 10:17:00 (updated on 17.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czechia’s planned back-up system of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, which make up most of plastic bottles in Czechia, will apply to soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Incorporating most drinks

Czechia’s Minister of Environment Petr Hladík said that the new system would apply to drinks with a volume of between 0.1 to 3 liters and beverages with alcohol content of up to 15 percent. Legislation for the plan is to be introduced this year.

Sellers who operate in a store of over 50 square meters will be obligated to offer a return point. Smaller vendors will be able to voluntarily join the system. Customers will pay a small deposit of about CZK 5 on the purchase of the soft drinks or alcoholic beverages, and have it returned when they return their drink bottle. A similar system currently operates in Germany.

An extensive project

The government plans to introduce about 11,000 collection points, and the earliest that the system can be launched is in mid-2025. The ministry expects that the backup system will handle about 1.8 billion PET bottles annually, which is about 47,000 tonnes of material. 

Hladík said that the aim of the whole system is to return 90 percent of plastic bottles to circulation within five years of the launch of the system. He noted that today only part of the recycled material from PET bottles is used to produce new bottles.

Czechia’s Environment Minister has said that the new plan will not cost customers anything extra. Municipalities in Czechia will get a “small reward” for their handling of the PET system.

Big support for the EU-wide project

He also said that the ministry aimed to promote the circular economy and meet targets based on European legislation, and as such promote the reuse of returnable PET bottles on a mass scale.

According to a study commissioned by the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, the launch of the backup system will cost about CZK 5.2 billion, and another CZK 1.3 billion will be spent on operating the system.

An Ipsos survey for the initiative last year found that 74 percent of Czechs support the introduction of PET bottle deposits. The Czech branches of Coca-Cola, Kofola, Mattoni, Heineken CR, and Plzeňský Prazdroj also support this endeavor.

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