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Slovakia says ‘yes’ to aluminium can deposit system

Slovakia kicked off a new deposit return system for aluminium cans this year in a bid to boost its aluminium recycling rate.

Almost 1.5 billion aluminium beverage containers are sold each year in Slovakia. The government considers it a good time to include them in drop-off recycling infrastructure, which is already widely available for plastic bottles. The reward has been put at 15 Eurocents per can.  

Slovakia is installing 1700 reverse vending machines to collect, sort and handle the return of aluminium cans at collection points across approximately 2000 stores. Popular hotspots includes the supermarket chain Tesco. Technology provider Tomra Sorting Systems was chosen to develop the take-back equipment.

The government says recent survey showed that almost 86% of people in Slovakia support a deposit return system for cans. It aims to recover 60% of used cans for recycling by the end of 2022, and 90% by 2025. This would put Slovakia four years ahead of the targets in the European Union’s Single-Use Plastics Directive, which requires member states to separately collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2029.

Tomra has installed upwards of 80 000 reverse vending machines in 40 countries worldwide to date, capturing over 40 billion used beverage containers per year.

Reverse vending machines made a big difference for plastics recyclers in Slovakia.

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