E-Košík and Mattoni testing public interest in recycling PET bottles via deposit system

Photo: archive of Košík.cz

The e-shop Košík.cz and Mattoni have started testing a deposit system on PET bottles, available on the online sales platform. Customers will be able to choose whether to order Mattoni bottled water in a classic PET bottle or in a returnable. The PET bottles returned will be recycled and put to use many times over.

Photo: archive of Košík.cz
According to the General Director of Košík.cz Tomáš Jeřábek the idea came from customers who are interested in helping a sustainable environment and are not turned off by a deposit system. The e-shop in cooperation with Mattoni ran with the idea and says the project is a great way to test demand from consumers when given a choice between deposit or non-deposit containers.

The returnable PET bottle, which is already made of 80% recycled plastic, has a three crowns deposit, similarly as glass beer bottles. Only bottles which carry the deposit label can be returned during the next delivery of goods and Košík returns the PET bottle to Mattoni.

They are then taken to a recycler to be crushed into PET flakes, and ground to a fine powder for new bottles. For example, in the Infinitum project, which has been operating in Norway since 2014, the bottle can be recycled up to 50 times.

Mattoni is a strong advocate of PET bottles on deposit and a 2019 poll by the agency Kantar TNS showed that three quarters of Czechs would support a deposit system for the PET bottles, even if it means they would need to store the bottles in their original form.

Czechs are doing a good job sorting plastic waste already and not everyone sees an advantage in introducing a deposit system on Pet bottles.

Aleš Rod, director of the independent Center of Economic and Market Analysis, says it is unnecessary, claiming producers can meet the new European rules by improving the existing sorting system. By 2025 packaging will have to be made from at least 25 percent recycled material.

However Soňa Jonášová, Director of the Institute of Circular Economics, disagrees, pointing out that the majority of plastics sorted in the Czech Republic go abroad for recycling.

“By 2025, producers will have to use 25 percent of recycled material in their packaging. If you are a manufacturer and need to obtain recycled material from abroad in what is often a complicated process in order to fulfil that condition, it makes no sense. Your interest is to get back what you are marketing."

A study by the Zálohujme.cz initiative from 2018, in which the Institute of Circular Economics and the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague participated, shows that the introduction of a blanket deposit system would reduce the environmental impact by 28 percent compared to the current method of plastic waste management.