SDR Portugal is the answer for an integrated solution that will enable Portugal to use single-use beverage packaging more rationally, effectively, and sustainably. Learn more about this transformation.
What is the SDR Portugal Association?
SDR Portugal - Packaging Association is a non-profit association formally established on September 1, 2021, with the aim of creating and managing the Deposit Refund System for single-use beverage packaging made of plastic, cans, glass, or as legislated. Its objective is to administer and organize the collection, transportation, counting, sorting, and recycling of single-use beverage packaging throughout the national territory. SDR Portugal advocates for an efficient and effective collection and recycling system that will result in consumer satisfaction and high rates of valorisation and recycling in line with the principles of the circular economy. The system must ensure equal treatment for all its customers, whether they are producers, importers, or retailers.
What is the Deposit Refund System?
The Deposit Refund System is a packaging recovery system for recycling based on providing a financial incentive for consumers to return non-reusable beverage packaging by reimbursing them, at the time of return, the additional amount they paid when purchasing these products
What are the main advantages of this DRS?
- Compliance with the goals and protection of the environment;
- Adoption of a disruptive and complementary model to the existing one, which, in less than 2 years, allows breaking the cycle of stagnation observed in the selective collection of packaging for many years;
- Reduction of landfill and energy recovery;
- Development of domestic recyclers, reducing external dependency;
- Complementarity of various waste management systems (SIGRE - Integrated Packaging Waste Management System / DRS / Reuse);
- Adoption of an innovative system;
- Contribution to making cities cleaner, thereby reducing costs for municipalities.
What will change in the paradigm of recyclable waste valorisation?
The goal of SDR Portugal is to implement an efficient and effective recycling system that results in consumer satisfaction and high rates of valorisation and recycling in accordance with the principles of the circular economy. This model will contribute to an effective change in the behaviour of consumers-citizen, encouraging greater participation in waste separation and an increase in the quantity and quality of recyclable materials. The Deposit Refund System will bring clear benefits to the industry, individuals, and the environment.
What is SDR Portugal's commitment regarding the waste sector?
For the first time, with SDR Portugal, the industry and retail sectors are coming together with the mission to fulfil what they believe is a national imperative: increasing the number of collected and recycled packaging while reducing their environmental impact and contributing to Portugal's commitment to meeting its targets. At the same time, they aim to create conditions to stimulate technological innovation and the competitiveness of Portuguese companies, boosting the national economy.
SDR Portugal intends to manage an efficient system that will simplify the registration of covered packaging, reducing complexity for packagers and retailers with more transparent costs and operations, as well as reducing regulatory costs for the government with equity in applied fees. This new system will provide greater clarity for consumers, contribute to higher recycling rates to meet European targets, and help reduce littering and contribute to reducing marine litter
What led to SDR Portugal's intention to apply for the management of the future Deposit Refund System (DRS) for single-use beverage packaging in Portugal?
SDR Portugal brings together in its shareholders most of the Portuguese beverage industry and retail sector, a very significant expression of the economic agents who produce, distribute, and sell single-use beverage packaging up to 3 liters in Portugal. They possess the best conditions to develop the solution that will deliver the results the country needs.
These agents are the primary stakeholders in the effectiveness and efficiency of the Association's operation. Furthermore, they have the knowledge, technical resources, capacity to develop, proximity to the consumer-citizen, and the ability to use their own resources to raise awareness, inform, and educate to promote the necessary behaviour change. There is a principle of responsibility that these entities - the packagers - feel they must act upon, as they are the ones who bear the costs of packaging waste management under the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR).
When does the Deposit Refund System (DRS) start operating?
According to information gathered from international consultants and systems already in operation in other countries, it is unanimously agreed that a period of 24 months is required for the correct and full implementation of a Deposit Refund System.
What will be essential for the success and efficiency of the DRS in Portugal?
According to the most recent data published in March 2023 by the Portuguese Environment Agency, the production of packaging waste in Portugal in the year 2020 amounted to 1.8 million tons. The recycling rates achieved (only 33.9% for plastic packaging, 52.0% for glass, and 46.3% for metal) and the increasingly demanding European targets (by 2030, recycling rates should reach 55% for plastic packaging, 75% for glass, 80% for ferrous metals, and 60% for aluminum) require the adoption of strategies to increase the quantities collected and directed towards recycling.
Particularly regarding single-use plastic beverage packaging, Directive (EU) 2019/904 on reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment has set a minimum target of 77% selective collection by 2025 and 90% by 2029. It also mandates a minimum of 25% recycled material incorporation in single-use PET plastic bottles by 2025, which increases to 30% by 2030 for all plastic bottles up to 3 liters, in both cases.
The success of a Deposit Refund System in Portugal will contribute to achieving recycling rates above 90% from 2029 onwards and a recycled material incorporation rate in beverage bottle production exceeding 30% from 2030.
How will the Deposit Refund System (DRS) be financed?
The funding of the DRS will be ensured through the revenues generated from the sale of collected packaging materials, financial contributions from the Packagers, and the value of unclaimed deposits. The investment in Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) will be the responsibility of retailers or other entities that wish to establish collection points, with their reimbursement ensured through handling fees.
The investment in the DRS will be carried out by the DRS Managing Entity (EG), utilizing investment programs and loans. There may be future investments from potential service providers, subject to a set of specifications/technical-qualitative requirements (safety, fraud prevention, material quality - clean waste) to be defined by the EG, which stand out from a competitiveness standpoint.
Which packaging is included in the DRS?
It is envisaged that the system may target non-reusable beverage packaging made of plastic, glass, ferrous metals, and aluminum, as defined in the legislation that will be published.
What is the destination of packaging that cannot be collected through SDR Portugal?
All packages that, for technical or operational reasons, cannot be included in the SDR should be integrated into the SIGRE and subject to SIGRE eco-fees, along with an additional fee to ensure there are no commercial advantages for this option.