Act No. 302/2019 Coll. on The Depositing of Single-use Packaging for Beverages, prepared by the Ministry of Environment, was approved by Parliament at the end of 2019. It was in response to the resolution of the European Commission which introduced the obligation to ensure collection of 90% of single-use plastic bottles and cans in all EU member states. According to the Ministry of the Environment, approximately one billion PET bottles and 345 million cans for beverages are sold in Slovakia each year, with the PET bottles’ recycling rate being approximately 60%.
From January 1, 2022 all plastic and metal containers for beverages from 0.1 to 3 litres will require a deposit in Slovakia, except for milk, milk-containing beverages, syrups and hard alcoholic drinks. The amount of the deposit fee has been set to 0.15 cents and is equal for all plastic bottles and cans. Deposited containers will contain a pictogram (Z), with the word ZÁLOHOVANÉ (meaning ‘returnable’), are to be returned uncompressed, together with the cap and readable bar code. Wider distribution of bottles and cans with the pictogram is expected in February and March.
Plastic bottles and cans without the pictogram will be sold during the transitory period lasting until June 30, 2022. Such containers, as well as containers that are not subject to the deposit system, shall continue to be disposed of in bins for sorted waste.
The obligation to accept deposited containers applies to all shops selling deposit-requiring beverages with a selling area larger than 300 sq m. For smaller shops, participation in the deposit system is optional. More than 2,000 collection points have registered for the deposit system, of which more than a thousand are smaller shops all over Slovakia.
The deposit system is regulated and inspected by the Ministry of the Environment and is funded from manufacturers’ fees, sale of materials and non-collected deposits.