In an article published on June 25, 2019, news provider Euractiv reported on a new bottle return scheme in France that is receiving criticism from local authorities and recyclers. Many specific questions regarding the exact operation of the scheme appear to be unanswered for stakeholders, including the recycling industry who are reported to have been invited to join a steering committee meeting on the issue just three days in advance. “No impact studies have been commissioned. In addition, the measure would only concern 400,000 tonnes of PET bottles (polyethylene terephthalate) per year compared to two million tonnes of plastic packaging,” Jean-Philippe Carpentier, president of the French Federation of Recycling Companies (Federec), told reporters.

The scheme has not yet been launched, and it seems unclear to which types of bottles the 15 cent increase will apply as well as who will cover the costs of automated collection systems. Many different viewpoints and suggestions for reshaping the scheme have surfaced. Nicolas Garnier is the general delegate of the energy transition association Amorce and commented that “the deposit-return scheme is mainly supported by manufacturers . . . as well as by beverage distributors and the eco-organisation Citeo. If the priority is waste prevention, then a [deposit return scheme] on glass should be used to promote its reuse. If, on the other hand, collection and treatment are to be improved, the collection should also target hazardous waste, such as batteries and specific household wastes likely to contain chemical products that could harm one’s health or the environment.” Earlier discussions in France in August 2018 had also hinted at potential future implementation of a tax on non-recycled plastic packaging (FPF reported).

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Stéphanie Senet (June 25, 2019). “France’s newly implemented deposit-return scheme receives strong criticism.” Euractiv