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Romania aims to recycle 7 billion PETs per year

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Romania’s guarantee return system for plastic, glass and metal packaging went live on Thursday, with an ambitious target to recycle around 7 billion pieces of reusable PET plastic each year to massively increase the country’s current separate collection rate of about 12-13%, according to Euractiv. 

Under the new Guarantee-Return system, consumers will be paying a 0.50 RON guarantee when purchasing beverages such as water, soft drinks, beer, cider, wine and spirits in non-reusable packaging made of glass, plastic, or metal that range from 0.1 L to 3 L in volume.

Romania will be ranked second in Europe after Germany in terms of the amount of packaging processed, said Prime Minister, Marcel Ciolacu.

To achieve this status, the government has set collection targets of 65% by 2024 and 80% by 2025 and aims to exceed 90% by 2026, said Environment, Water and Forests Minister Mircea Fechet, hoping this “will shift Romania’s status from a country of storage to one of recycling.”

On the ground, RetuRo, the administrator of the new return system, has announced plans to set up 17 dedicated centres next year to handle beverage packaging collected from some 80,000 retailers. RetuRo is a body with representatives from producers, retailers and the Romanian state, represented by the Central Environmental Protection Agency.

Speaking of the environmental damage created by the country’s waste management systems, PNL President Nicolae Ciucă said: ”Romania generates approximately 116 kg of packaging waste per capita annually, with less than half being recycled, and about 4.2 tons of packaging ending up in the Danube river daily”.

However, he too is confident about Romania’s new PET recycling target, which he says also aims to address EU-mandated targets such as the one obliging EU members to up their collection and recycling capacities to 77% by 2025 and 90% by 2027.

Romania has committed to achieving a target of 85% for glass packaging, 90% for plastic, and 90% for metal collection and packaging return for manufacturers by 2026.