Canned and bottled drinks to come with a deposit of 10 to 20 cents by mid-2024, redeemable when recycled

SINGAPORE – By mid-2024, consumers seeking to quench their thirst from a canned or bottled drink will likely have to fork out 10 to 20 cents more.

However, this extra cost can be redeemed if consumers return their empty bottles and cans for recycling at any of the beverage container return points islandwide.

These return points could take the form of “reverse” vending machines, into which bottles and cans can be deposited to get money in return, or manned counters.

By the time of implementation, there will be more than 400 such points on the island, up from the 50 reverse vending machines currently.

The new beverage container return scheme proposed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) was announced on Tuesday.

Under the proposed scheme, a small deposit of between 10 cents and 20 cents will be added to the price of all pre-packaged drinks in plastic bottles and metal cans between 150ml and 3 litres.

This deposit will be the same across all beverages of the same size.

Drinks will be labelled with a deposit mark and consumers can claim a refund of the deposits when they return their empty beverage containers to a return point. This redemption will likely be in the form of cash or digital transfer.

Return points will be set up at all supermarkets that are larger than 200 sq m. Other possible return locations include convenience stores and community centres.

The proposed scheme comes after extensive public engagement and aims to increase the recycling rate of beverage containers in Singapore to 80 per cent.

This is NEA’s latest idea to nudge people towards recycling, as only 6 per cent of all plastic waste was recycled in Singapore last year.

Many nations which have implemented such a scheme have been able to raise their recycling rates of beverage containers substantially. For example, in Germany, the recycling rate of beverage containers stands at 98 per cent.

NEA is seeking feedback on the beverage container return scheme, which is part of governmental recommendations to cut such packaging waste generated in Singapore.