Hungary launches new deposit return system for recycling single-use drink containers in partnership with MOHU, with deposits of approximately €0.13; partnership includes reverse vending company Tomra, which installed more than 1,000 machines in Hungary

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

January 2, 2024 (press release) –

Hungary got the New Year off to a bold start yesterday with the 1 January launch of the European country’s new deposit return system (DRS) for recycling single-use drink containers. Global reverse vending leader TOMRA has partnered with MOHU (MOL Hulladékgazdálkodási Zrt.), the central system administrator for the DRS, to roll out collection infrastructure to make drink container returns as convenient as possible for new recyclers.

This DRS covers ready-to-drink or concentrated beverages (except milk and milk-based beverages), in single-use aluminum cans and glass/plastic bottles, ranging from 0.1 liters to 3 liters in size. Consumers pay a deposit of 50 Hungarian forint (approximately €0.13) when purchasing an eligible drink, which is refunded to them when they return the empty drink container for recycling. It is like buying the drink, but borrowing the container. Drink containers in Hungary can be returned to grocery retailers over 400m2 in size, and the growing number of voluntary and manual sites, making recycling part of consumers’ existing shopping routines.

TOMRA has installed across Hungary more than 1000 high-volume reverse vending machines (RVMs) for medium and large locations like supermarkets and hypermarkets in urban settings, with the roll-out of further RVMs to continue in 2024. When a consumer inserts drink containers into an RVM, it automatically identifies and sorts the containers, and pays out the correct refund, more efficiently and securely than with manual return of containers.

Hungary’s new DRS aims to deliver on MOHU’s goals to promote a circular economy and slash litter. The DRS also introduces Extended Producer Responsibility and strives to fulfil the European Union’s Single-Use Plastics Directive targets, requiring member countries to separately collect 90% of plastic beverage bottles by 2029.

TOMRA established a local entity in Hungary in 2022, with Managing Director Dávid Bakos having now grown the organization to approximately 40 people. TOMRA has over 50 years’ experience working in deposit return systems around the world, across all parts of the value chain, including material pick-up, PET processing and data management. TOMRA’s approximately 82,000 reverse vending machines, in over 60 markets, collect over 45 billion drink containers for recycling each year.

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Dan Rivard
Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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