Romania launches Deposit Return System

Romania launches the world’s largest centralized Deposit Return System, with almost 80,000 collection points.
Copyright: Sensoneo

Romania is thus on the path to joining other 13 EU countries that have launched deposit return schemes (DRS) with the aim of increasing collection and recycling rates of single-use beverage containers.

The Romanian DRS system uses a software solution from Sensoneo. The software works as a backbone of the entire system as it integrates all stakeholders and gathers data from all sources within the process chain. The Deposit Return Schemes increase the purity of material collected, leading to materials’ circularity and reduction of CO2 emissions. The Romanian scheme will cover plastic, glass, and metal beverage containers ranging from 0.1 to 3 Litres. The deposit per bottle will be 0,5 Romanian lei (approximately €0.1).

All legal entities that produce, import, or sell beverages in single-use containers are obliged to participate in the scheme. The official launch of the Deposit Return System is due on 30 November 2023. The Deposit Return System in Romania aims to achieve global prominence as the most comprehensive integrated system, distinguished by its remarkable complexity. The establishment of the DRS system faced complex challenges in multiple aspects, encompassing equipment setup, software integration, and the identification and securing of appropriate locations for regional centres.

The system operator is RetuRO, a consortium uniquely consisting of a combination of private entities (associations of beverage producers and retailers) with minor public participation (through the Romanian Ministry of Environment, Waters, and Forests). RetuRO will manage around seven billion beverage containers annually, with Romania struggling in Europe when it comes to the rate of recycling. As Cristian Mihai, IT Director of RetuRO, explained: “Despite many challenges, we managed to implement a very complex system in an unbelievably short time. We are talking about an extremely complex, modular system, which will have to not only support the information received from almost 80,000 economic operators but also correlate identification, stock, return, collection, invoicing, and reporting data for almost 7 billion packages. The novelty and the revolutionary nature of this system make it equally exciting and provocative.”

Sensoneo designed a unique and ready-to-integrate IT system for DRS that can be adapted to any specific needs of different countries and is agnostic with any return vending machine. In the preliminary phase, Sensoneo provided a market-mapping tool that enabled the most efficient DRS implementation including digital data collection and analysis from all entities, registration of entities and their beverages into the system, and automated digital contracting.

Sensoneo’s full DRS system includes modules for every activity involved in the preparation, operation, and reporting. The main modules of the system are represented by the web portal for producers and retailers, the packaging register, the collection points register, the ERP (enterprise resource planning) system, the reporting system, the document management system, interfaces with other systems (RVM, counting and sorting centers), and mobile applications. All these modules are hosted on Microsoft Azure Cloud infrastructure, which provides unlimited performance scaling opportunities and a high level of security protection. The modules reflect specific requirements and needs and completely fulfil each stakeholder’s obligations.

Sensoneo draws on its extensive experience with Deposit Return Schemes and is currently the only DRS integrator that operates in five European countries. In addition to Romania, Sensoneo’s DRS IT solution serves as the central infrastructure for the entire DRS system in Slovakia, Malta, Ireland, and Hungary. Sensoneo implemented the Slovak DRS System in only 10 months, currently reaching 93% in recycling rates.


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