83% of Italians support the introduction of a Deposit Return System on single-use beverage packaging

Monsano (AN), Italy

Launched 18th of March 2022, “A Buon Rendere – molto più di un vuoto“, is the first national Campaign calling for a Deposit Return System - DRS in Italy.

Lead as a coordinated effort by the National Association Comuni Virtuosi, the campaign is supported by all major national non-governmental organisations wotking on environment and sustainability, and several others of local interest, that already signed, last November, a joint call  to the Draghi government and Minister Cingolani to speed up the introduction of an effective DRS. Among them: A Sud Onlus, Altroconsumo, Greenpeace Italia, Italia Nostra, Kyoto Club, LAV, Legambiente, Lipu-Bird Life Italia, Oxfam, Marevivo, Pro Natura, Retake, Slow Food Italia, Touring Club Italiano, WWF Italia and Zero Waste Italy.

Italy, like other European countries without a DRS, needs such a scheme in order to meet the European collection and recycling targets and to sensibly reduce pollution of its seas, countryside and cities. Under this scheme, a small deposit added on the sale price of beverage containers – which is entirely returned to consumers when a bottle/can is returned to a collection point –, guarantees for high collection rates (average rate in EU: 91%) in line with EU targets.

A step in the right direction

In the “Act on Simplification” of July 2021 (a Decree aiming at regulatory simplification in many areas), a specific amendment was inserted, which opens the way for the introduction of a Deposit Return System in Italy. As stipulated in the amendment, the Ministry of Ecological Transition (Italian MoE) in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development is mandated to draw up the Implementing Acts for the introduction of the DRS.(1)

Over 7 billion beverage containers wasted in Italy each year

As a member of the the Reloop Platform released back in April 2021 , the Association Comuni Virtuosi some data elaborated from the What we waste dashboard on Italy revealing that more than seven billion beverage containers escape recycling every year and get littered in the environment, or disposed of in incinerators or landfill. This equals 119 beverage containers wasted by each Italian a year. A waste that Italy could reduce by 75-80% by adopting a deposit system.

A Buon Rendere – molto più di un vuoto is a campaign that aims to raise awareness among citizens, politicians, beverage and retail companies about the benefits of DRS and about having a national DRS scheme – designed in a performing way – soon adopted. To this end, the campaign will use tools such as petitions, surveys, public events, citizen science activities such as reporting on materials frequently found as littered items during cleanups, production of studies and outreach materials.

A Buon Rendere – molto più di un vuoto aims to be an trustworthy, credible, knowledgeable voice in the Italian debate to help speed up the approval of a national law on DRS.
The timing would be perfect, by the way, as confirmed by the results of a recent survey conducted by AstraRicerche and commissioned by our campaign, which found that 83% of Italians are in favour of a DRS in our Country.

The national campaign and its Partners are therefore calling for the introduction of a Deposit Return System (DRS) in Italy based on the most successful systems operating in Europe. In their vision, and based on perfoming DRS schemes already rolled out oin other EU Member states, a performing DRS scheme for Italy should be:

  • with a national scope;
  • mandatory for all producers;
  • covering all kind of beverage containers.

A system so designed would allow us to protect our environment, promote the transition to circular economy and meet the European targets for separate collection and recycling.
In doing so, the Campaign aims to align with the current initiatives of the EU institutions, which are considering a possible common approach to DRS throughout Europe, inspired by the principles specified above, so as to have equally performing and efficient DRS schemes in Countries where such schemes have not been adopted, as yet.

The difference in separate collection rates for beverage bottles between EU Member States with, and without such a scheme in place (94% and 47% respectively), makes a point that cannot be overlooked. The average capture rates of PET beverage packaging in European countries where a DRS is in place exceeds 90%.

All continuously updated DRS insights such as: articles, videos, infographics, as well as a Petition for individuals to sign and disseminated, are available on the campaign website.


(1) No further specification is included in the mandate, which is therefore open to any possible outcome. Therefore, a coalition of NGOs, led by ACV – Associazione Comuni Virtuosi, has launched a nationwide campaign in order to inform and facilitate the ongoing policy-making process, so as to drive it towards a best performing system, in line with DRS already adopted in other EU Member States.

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