What can we help you with?

What can we help you with?

Here you can find the most important questions and answers on the deposit system, containers, returns, recycling and collection. 

About the deposit

Which products will have a deposit on them?

From 1 January 2025, all sealed PET bottles and metal cans with a filling quantity of 0.1 to 3 litres will be subject to a deposit. These are identified by the deposit logo.

Which products are exempt from the deposit system?

The deposit covers all sealed or mostly sealed single-use drinks containers made of plastic or metal with a filling capacity of 0.1 to 3 litres.

  • Exempt are:
  • Drink multi-packs
  • Drink bottles made of glass or metal with seals or caps made of plastic
  • Drink bottles for supplements and liquid foods that are intended and used for special medical purposes
  • Drinks made from milk and milk-based products

There is no deposit on syrups either; although these are drinks in the broadest sense, they are not intended for direct consumption.

Is a deposit levied on syrups?

Syrups are not part of the deposit system; although these are drinks in the broadest sense, they are not intended for direct consumption.

Is a deposit levied on drinks in a foil pouch?

No. Single-use drinks containers made of plastic which have a different shape from a bottle are not part of the deposit system.

How do I recognise single-use deposit products?

All drinks containers subject to the single-use deposit are visibly identified with the deposit logo.

How much is the deposit?

A deposit of 25 cents is levied on each container at point of sale.

How can I check whether a product is registered?

The deposit logo is shown on the container, the EAN code is clearly assigned and can also be checked via the app.

Why is the deposit on single-use containers only being introduced in 2025?

The common goal of trade, industry and the Climate Protection Ministry is to build up a highly efficient, service-orientated and transparent system capable of guaranteeing that the single-use deposit is processed smoothly for consumers through the preparatory work of EWP Recycling Pfand Österreich gGmbH.

To this end the logistics and the processing processes must be developed with producers, importers and collectors, and the reverse vending machines procured.

Why is the deposit system being introduced in Austria?

PET and aluminium are important recyclables: however, in Austria currently only around 70% of all PET bottles are collected after use and returned to the recycling cycle. The collection target of 90% must be reached by 2027.

The deposit system enables the high-quality recycling of containers so that the recyclate can be used for new PET bottles and aluminium cans.

At the same time, the discarding of single-use drinks containers as litter is avoided, i.e. the thoughtless disposal of waste in the environment.

Are there any EU laws that require a deposit system?

The European Union does not require a deposit system, but rather the fulfilment of collection quotas for single-use plastic containers, which can be achieved with the aid of a deposit system. The amendment of the Waste Management Act in December 2021 (circular economy package), which stipulates a mandatory 90% collection rate for single-use plastic drinks bottles by 2029, lays the foundation for the deposit system on the basis of “EU Directive 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment”

Why is a deposit charged only on single-use plastic bottles or drinks cans?

In the Regulation, the legislator specifies precisely which containers are subject to the deposit, i.e. single-use plastic bottles and drinks cans.

Is a deposit levied on distilled water?

A deposit is not levied on containers of distilled water, as long as the water is unsuitable for consumption.

Why does the deposit not affect other food or drug containers made of plastic as well?

The regulation applies to plastic and metal single-use drinks containers sold in Austria.

Why was the deposit set at an amount of 25 cents?

The legislator specifies this deposit rate in the Regulation; it amounts to 25 cents.

What are the differences between the multi-use and single-use deposit systems?

Both single-use drinks containers and multi-use drinks containers can be returned at the reverse vending machines provided in the retail environment.

The deposit amount varies: for single-use drinks containers, a standard 25-cent deposit applies; the deposit on multi-use bottles depends on the container.

In addition to the reverse vending machines in the retail environment, single-use drinks containers can also be returned to the outlets where the products are sold, which includes (online) delivery services. Excluded from the possibility of direct return are drinks vending machines or if the drinks are delivered by a post or parcel delivery company or a forwarding agent.

Single-use products subject to the deposit are labelled with a standardised deposit logo.

How do deposit systems in other countries differ from the system planned for Austria?

In Austria, a central system with a central body is being established, similar to the approach taken in various Scandinavian countries. In contrast to this, Germany, for example, has a decentralised system with multiple processing points. From the consumers’ perspective, the systems are virtually identical.

You can find an overview of the individual deposit systems in Europe on the website of the DRS Association.

What is EWP Recycling Pfand Österreich gGmbH and what does it do?

EWP Recycling Pfand Österreich gGmbH is a central body that takes care of all organisational and structural agendas of the single-use deposit system.

What is Trägerverein Einwegpfand?

The owner of the central body is Trägerverein Einwegpfand, whose members include leading beverage producers, retail partners and related associations. Further information is available on the association’s website.

Packagings

Where can I return single-use deposit containers?

Single-use deposit containers are collected at all sales outlets at which they are sold. This excludes drinks vending machines and post & parcel deliverers. Collection is processed either manually or via reverse vending machines.

In the case of manual collection, the operators only have to collect the drinks containers in the usual sales volume and filling volume.

Example: A bakery sells only beverages of brand X in 0.5 litres PET bottles. Therefore, 0.5 litre PET bottles are collected, but also those of brands Y and Z. Thus aluminium cans or PET bottles in other sizes are not collected.

What needs to be the condition of the bottle or can for the deposit reimbursed?

If the container is rejected, the deposit cannot be reimbursed. Please dispose of the packaging properly.

Are only sealed bottles with an attached seal accepted or also opened bottles without a seal?

Both re-sealed and opened bottles with and without a seal may be returned.

During the transitional period, how can I differentiate deposit products from bottles and cans that do not participate in the deposit?

Products already participating in the deposit system at the beginning of 2025 are clearly labelled with the deposit logo and have been registered with the new GTIN code (formerly EAN code). In this way, they can also be clearly identified by reverse vending machines.

In the transitional period to 31 March 2025, products may be bottled/canned that do not yet participate in the deposit system. These products do not display a deposit logo and are sold without a deposit being charged.

These products may be sold without the levying of a deposit until 31 December 2025.

What should happen with containers that are not collected?

The prerequisite for reimbursing the deposit is that the drinks container is empty, not crushed and that the entire label is present on the container and legible. This is the only way to identify whether the container is a bottle or can that is managed in the deposit cycle.

If the container is also rejected by a reverse vending machine, the deposit cannot be reimbursed. In this case, please dispose of the container in the nearest yellow bin or yellow bag.

Can I throw plastic bottles or aluminium cans displaying the deposit logo into other collection containers to be recycled?

When disposing of containers in other collection systems, recycling is guaranteed. However, if you dispose of such containers in this way you will lose your deposit.

Which products are collected at collection points?

In general, all products that are subject to the deposit on single-use drinks containers and display the deposit logo will be collected. This includes all sealed plastic bottles and metal cans with a filling quantity of 0.1 to 3 litres, excluding milk products or products that are made with more than 51% milk. Syrups are also exempt.

Not exempt are: "plant-based types of milk" (soya milk, oat milk, etc.).

How many containers can I return?

There are no restrictions on the number of containers that can be returned at reverse vending machines. At sales outlets with manual collection, only the unit quantities typically sold in each purchase will be collected.

Example: A bakery sells about 2-3 bottles per customer, so it will only collect this number of bottles from each customer as well.

Can I return any deposit bottle or can to any collection point?

Any container in the deposit cycle can be returned via reverse vending machines.

Generally speaking, the following applies to manual collection: If a container size (e.g. 0.5-litre PET bottle or 0.25-litre can) is sold at a sales outlet, containers of this size must also be collected, including brands other than those available from the sales outlet in question.

How many bottles and cans am I allowed to return at manual collection points?

Collection is limited to the unit quantities usually purchased.

Example: A sausage stand operator or delivery service does NOT have to take back 20 single-use deposit containers per person in one go, as they only sell 1-2 bottles or cans per purchase on average.

They do NOT have to take back drinks cans if they only sell PET bottles.

How many bottles and cans can I return at reverse vending machines?

It is possible to return all deposit-paid drinks containers at a reverse vending machine, no matter what the number, container size or brand.

Can I also return a product at a sales point that does not stock the product?

Sales outlets generally offer manual collection only for those container sizes that they sell themselves, regardless of the brand.

Example: A tobacconist sells only 0.25-litre drinks cans, so therefore only has to collect such cans as well (no matter which brand, with deposit logo).

Example: A consumer who buys a 2-litre PET bottle at the supermarket can only return it at sales outlets with manual collection which specifically have that container in their product range.

It is possible to return all deposit-paid drinks containers at a reverse vending machine, no matter what the number, container size or brand.

Can I also return products in Austria that I purchased abroad and do not display the deposit logo?

No. Please dispose of the packaging properly in a conventional collection system.

Can I return my products in other countries that also have a deposit system on single-use drinks containers?

No. Please dispose of the packaging properly in a conventional collection system.

Where do I have to return a bottle or can that I purchased from a drinks vending machine?

The nearest collection point is usually indicated on the drinks vending machine. You can return the container at all sales outlets that have this container size in their product range (no matter which brand).

I received a free product (product sample); can I return the container?

Yes. If the deposit logo is displayed on the container, the container can be returned quite normally at a reverse vending machine.

I know of a sales outlet that sells imported goods without the deposit logo. Who should I report that to?

Please contact Recycling Pfand Österreich at office@ewp-oe.at

I have purchased a product that does not have a deposit logo printed on it, but I paid a deposit on it – what should I do?

Please send us full information on the sales outlet and, if you still have it, the till receipt showing the deposit amount, as well as a photo of the product to office@ewp-oe.at.

I was turned away when I tried to return a single-use drinks container at a sales outlet – what can I do?

Please send us full information on the incident to office@ewp-oe.at.

Recycling

Why is the collection of PET and aluminium so important?

PET and aluminium are important secondary raw materials and resources for the recycling cycle. For the recycling of PET bottles and aluminium cans, a high collection rate is essential.

Studies show that the deposit system ensures a higher recycling rate and availability – and thus also a functioning circular economy. Not to mention the fact that fewer PET bottles and aluminium cans end up being thrown away in general waste or in nature.

The collection of PET bottles via the deposit system enables high-quality recycling. It enables recycled plastic (recyclates) and metals to be re-used in drinks containers.

What collection rates is the deposit system designed to achieve?

The goal in Austria is to achieve an 80% collection rate for PET bottles commencing 2025, and the required 90% collection rate by 2027.

Are the collected PET bottles and aluminium cans used to make new containers?

Yes. By collecting them through the deposit system, virtually uncontaminated recyclables become available to the recycling process.

The PET and aluminium can be retained as a resource in the recycling cycle and "downcycling” is avoided (explanation: downcycling is the conversion of a product into a lower-quality end product).

In this way, old bottles and cans can become new containers.

 

Is there any chance of the collected drinks containers ending up in an incinerator?

After being collected, the material is sorted by Recycling Pfand Österreich and sold back to the producers, who then use this valuable material to manufacture new PET bottles or aluminium cans.

How do you ensure that the collected drinks containers are actually recycled into new bottles?

The SUP (Single Use Plastic) Directive of the EU (2019/904) stipulates that from 2025, producers must ensure that each PET bottle contains 25% recycled material. In other words, producers must have access to recycled material in order to fulfil this stipulation.
The stipulation regarding the proportion of recycled material will increase continuously over the coming years. This proportion must amount to 30% by 2029.

How are drinks containers recycled in detail?

In Austria, the majority of collected PET bottles are further processed in the various recycling facilities. There, the flakes are intensively cleaned and raised to a high food-grade quality through melting, filtration and granulation.

For Companies

How does the new deposit cycle work?
  1. The producers always sell the beverages to their retail partners inclusive of the 25-cent deposit.
  2. For all products sold, the producers must pay the collected deposit to Recycling Pfand Österreich on a regular basis.
  3. Recycling Pfand Österreich is responsible for carrying out the credit procedure of the deposit amount with the collectors, and collecting and sorting the empty, returned plastic bottles and aluminium cans.
  4. The producers can buy back the same proportion of material put into circulation by them and then collected.
  5. The repurchased material is commissioned by the producers for recycling and can then be reused to manufacture new bottles or cans.
What do I have to consider as a producer/importer before the deposit system is introduced?
  • All producers and importers of single-use drinks containers who sell their products in Austria must register themselves via the login platform of Recycling Pfand Österreich.
  • Each drink item (=SKU) in a single-use plastic bottle or aluminium can must be registered with Recycling Pfand Österreich so that it can subsequently participate in the deposit cycle and be identified either by the reverse vending machine and or by manual collectors.
  • From 2025, the sale of unregistered products in Austria will basically be prohibited. However, the Regulation specifies a transitional period for products bottled/canned before a certain date.
  • The deposit logo must be placed on containers subject to deposit so that consumers can clearly identify that the product is part of the deposit cycle.
  • Full information and precise specifications will be available in the producer manual from end of 2023.
What rights and obligations do initial distributors have:

Obligations: Initial distributors (= drinks producers, drinks importers) must register as initial distributors in the EWP portal and also register their products. Furthermore, initial distributors must pay contributions to the producers.

Rights: In return, initial distributors have the right of access to the recycled material of their containers.

I’m a producer/importer and don’t have an office in Austria. How can I register myself or my products?

Foreign companies also have to appoint an Austrian authorised representative to fulfil the obligations of the Deposit Regulation on behalf of the companies.

It is expected that registration via an online registration portal will be possible from early summer 2024. This will be accompanied by the publication of instructions for using the portal.

Are there transitional periods for producers?

Products may be sold until 31 December 2025 without the deposit being charged, if they were bottled/canned before 1 April 2025.

How does the deposit system work for sponsored goods?

For each drink sold in single-use deposit bottles from 1 January 2025, the corresponding deposit of 25 cents must be paid to Recycling Pfand Österreich. That also includes sponsored goods, test samples, samples, giveaways and home brew.

What is meant by “place on the market” – Are free items and giveaways also covered?

The following are deemed as placed on the market and are therefore to be reported to Recycling Pfand:

  • Samples & Sponsoring
  • Drinks destined for domestic consumption & personal consumption
  • Sample goods
  • Expired goods that are donated to social markets or employees

The following are deemed as NOT placed on the market and therefore do not need to be reported to Recycling Pfand:

  • Laboratory samples that are not placed on the market
  • Expired goods that are shown to have been destroyed
  • Products with production errors that are shown not to have been placed on the market

Special form of collection:

  • Containers have already been reported as placed on the market and are then collected
  • The deposit and producer fee will be credited upon the issue of confirmation of destruction
As a producer, do I also have to pay the 25-cent deposit to Recycling Pfand Österreich for giveaways?

Yes. The corresponding deposit of 25 cents must be paid to Recycling Pfand Österreich for each drink. This also applies to giveaways, as the collectors will also reimburse the 25-cent deposit on these bottles and cans when they are returned.

What do I have to note with regard to the distribution of giveaways / samples?

Even if drinks subject to a deposit are distributed for free / as samples, there is an obligation to collect the containers.

The following collection options are available:  

1) become a manual collector

2) indicate an alternative collection point, if distribution takes place at a highly frequented place

  • This must be in the immediate vicinity
  • An agreement has to be made with this collection point
  • The consumer must be informed about this
We provide our employees with free drinks in our company. Does the deposit have to be paid to Recycling Pfand Österreich for these drinks?

Yes. The corresponding deposit of 25 cents must be paid to Recycling Pfand Österreich for each drink. This also applies to giveaways, as the collectors will also reimburse the 25-cent deposit on these bottles and cans when they are returned.

How will billing take place for companies during the transitional period?

During the transitional period provided for in the Regulation, companies only have to report those containers that are part of the single-use deposit system (new EAN codes, deposit logo). Billing takes place for these container only.

Who needs to register?

All producers and importers of single-use drinks containers who sell their products in Austria must register via Recycling Pfand Österreich.

Registration is a prerequisite for the approval of the drink item or its container and is required for the levying of the statutory producer contributions and for the payment of the deposit amounts.

Why do I need to register?

Registration is required for the levying of the statutory producer contributions and for the payment of the deposit amounts.

  1. Each producer and importer that sells drinks in plastic bottles and cans as the first placer on the market has to register with EWP Recycling Pfand Österreich.
  2. Each drink item (=SKU) in a single-use plastic bottle or aluminium can must be registered with Recycling Pfand Österreich so that it can participate in the deposit system from 1 January 2025 and be identified by the reverse vending machine.
By when do I need to register my company and my products?

The product has to be registered and approved before being sold in Austria. Important: Please note the lead times for registration. Registration will be possible from June 2024. For full details, please visit this website.

  1. Each drink in a single-use deposit bottle must be registered and must display the deposit logo so that consumers can clearly identify that the product is involved in the deposit cycle.
  2. It is expected that full details on the registration process will be available in the login area from June 2024.
Can single-use deposit bottles that have not been registered also be sold in Austria?

No. Upon expiry of the transitional period on 31 December 2025, all products sold in Austria that are subject to the deposit on single-use containers must be registered without exception.

How do I register?

Registration will be possible from June 2024 via the login area of the Recycling Pfand Österreich website.

Is the sale of unregistered products an offence?

Yes. § 79 of the Waste Management Act (AWG 2002) contains penalty clauses for violations of the Deposit Regulation, which was enacted in accordance with § 14c AWG. Violations therefore constitute an administrative offence and the penalty can amount to up to 8,400 euros.

How is the producer fee calculated?

The producer fee is invoiced together with the deposit amount for each item sold and on the basis of the sales reports. The calculation is specified in the Regulation under §10.

What does the registration fee cover and when is it due?

The provisions calculating the registration costs are laid out in §22 (3) of the Regulation. Producers will be charged these costs after registering. The fee must be paid before the respective product and its container (SKU) can finally be included in the database registry of the deposit system.

Does a release fee also have to be paid for single-use drinks containers from 1 January 2025 in addition to the producer fee?

No. For single-use drinks containers which are sold with a new barcode and the deposit logo under the deposit system from 1 January 2025, and on which the deposit has been levied, no release fee is required, but instead the producer fee.

The release fee no longer has to be paid for which parts of the single-use drinks containers?

There is no fee to pay for the container, labels, seals and caps.

Is it essential to create new GTIN codes (formerly EAN codes) for each container unit and by when do these need to be notified at the latest?

Yes. The deposit logo may only be used in combination with a new GTIN code, as that is the only way to differentiate the product from those already on the market.

For international EAN codes, there are exceptions, but these also require higher fees.

How do the products need to be labelled?

Each product must display the deposit logo so that it is clearly visible to consumers. Full information can be found in the producer manual.

From what date do the products need to display the deposit logo?

Sales of products displaying the deposit logo may commence on 1 January 2025. The regulation allows for products to be bottled/canned without the deposit logo until 31 March 2025 and thereafter sold with the levying of a deposit until 31 December 2025 (transitional period). From 1 January 2026, only registered products displaying the deposit logo may be sold.

How is the deposit charged on imported goods and how are they labelled?

By definition, all products that are subject to the deposit and sold in Austria must visibly display the deposit logo. The logo can be applied to the container by means of a sticker, including for very small quantities. Therefore, international and imported products must also be registered without exception.

International GTIN codes are permitted.

How is the deposit charged on smaller batches of cans or bottles and how are they labelled?

For products in small batches and imported goods, there is the possibility to place stickers from Recycling Pfand Österreich on the products. Details can be found in the producer manual

I will still have products in stock in January 2025 that don’t display the deposit logo. Am I allowed to continue selling them?

Yes. There is a transitional period until the end of 2025. No deposit may be levied on products without the deposit logo and the container may also not be collected as a single-use deposit container. These items will continue to be collected via conventional collection systems (e.g. yellow bag). All products bottled/canned from 1 April 2025 must be registered and labelled accordingly.

From 2026, all products sold in Austria must be registered and display the deposit logo.

Does the label adhesive have to meet certain requirements?

Full information can be found in the producer manual.

In the case of trademarks, who is responsible for registering the product and applying the logo?

Answer: In accordance with the deposit regulation, the clients, i.e. the brand owners, have the obligation to register the respective products and arrange for them to be labelled with the deposit logo in the case of contract bottling.

In the case of trademarks, who is responsible for registering the product and applying the deposit logo?

In accordance with the deposit regulation, these obligations fall on the clients (i.e. the brand owner) of the contract bottlers for these instances of contract bottling. They must therefore register the respective products and arrange for them to be labelled with the deposit logo.

I am a drinks dealer and supply companies and events (often on commission). Who is responsible for return, refunding the deposit and collection?

If your company acts solely as a dispenser in the value chain and does not pass drinks directly to end consumers, you are not obligated to collect the empty containers or disburse the deposit. These obligations essentially fall on the final distributor. It also makes no difference whether the goods were handed over to final distributors as part of, for example, a commission-based transaction or by means of reservation of title.

However, you are free to make special arrangements with the final distributors and to pick up the collected drinks containers yourself. In this case, collection is performed by Recycling Pfand Österreich or delivery partners at one of your specified business locations.

How is the settlement of the deposit to be assessed for VAT by the retailer or producer?

The deposit is collected by the retailer or producer on behalf of and on account of EWP Recycling Pfand Österreich gGmbH (§4(1) Deposit Return Scheme for Single-Use Drinks Containers, Federal Gazette II No. 283/2023). For retailers and producers, the deposit therefore represents a transitory item that is not subject to value added tax (§4(3) Value Added Tax Act (UStG)). If the cash register and document reporting obligation or invoicing obligation applies, the deposit must be shown on the till receipt / invoice on its own line with a value added tax rate of 0%. The remark “Settlement on behalf of and on account of EWP Recycling Pfand Österreich gGmbH” can also be indicated.

Conversely, the deposit is reimbursed by collectors on behalf of and on account of EWP Recycling Pfand Österreich gGmbH. The reimbursement must also be posted without value added tax; the credit amount must be shown on the invoice / till receipt on its own line with a value added tax rate of 0%.

This regulation is subject to change, as the final approval of the authorities is still outstanding.

 

Wie bekomme ich das Pfandlogo?

Das Pfandlogo ist eine Gewährleistungsmarke dessen Nutzung sehr streng geregelt ist. Es darf ausschließlich von registrierten Produkten zur Produktkennzeichnung oder zur Kennzeichnung von registrierten Rücknahmestellen verwendet werden. Die Logoverwendung für die Kennzeichnung von Rücknahmestellen darf nur über das von der EWP zu Verfügung gestellte Datenpaket erfolgen.

Um das Logo zu bekommen, registrieren Sie sich im EWP-Portal und bekommen so Zugang zum Nutzungslizenzvertrag. Dieser muss unterzeichnet werden. Erst wenn dieser unterzeichnet hochgeladen wird, wird das Logo in Druckqualität bereitgestellt. Die Logoverwendung ist ausschließlich mit unterzeichnetem Nutzungslizenzvertrag erlaubt!  Wird das Logo schon dringend benötigt kontaktieren Sie uns bitte unter office@ewp-oe.at.

For collectors general

Do I have to register as a collector?

Registration is required only if the manual collection is to take place in sealed bags via supply partners or directly via Recycling Pfand Österreich.

If the bottles and cans are returned directly at a reverse vending machine, no registration is required as the deposit amount will be reimbursed via the reserve vending machine (voucher).

Exception: If I, as a collector, take the collected bottles and cans to a reverse vending machine myself and return them there, no registration is required. I am reimbursed the deposit amount previously reimbursed to my customers when returning bottles and cans at a reverse vending machine in the form of a voucher.

When do I have to register?

Registration must take place during 2024. Further details on this will be communicated as they become available.

Where do I need to register to have the deposit reimbursed?

Registration takes place via the portal of Recycling Pfand Österreich. Registration is required only if manual collection is to take place in sealed bags via delivery partners or directly via Recycling Pfand Österreich.

How do I have the deposit that I’ve paid out to consumers reimbursed?

For very small collection quantities, you can have the deposit disbursed by returning the bottles and cans directly at reverse vending machines. This does not require registration.

If collection takes place in sealed bags via Recycling Pfand Österreich or via your logistics partner, the single-use deposit of the collected empty containers will be disbursed on a regular basis after payment has been made. Registration is required for this process.

Disbursement for collections at reverse vending machines also takes place on a regular basis. Details on the disbursement can be found in the collection agreements. The reverse vending machine must be accredited and the collector must register themselves.

How should the price be displayed on deposit containers?

The insert for empties – as is already the case in the existing multi-use system – must be legible and clearly featured.

The customary separate display of the drink price and of the insert for the container makes it easy to read the prices.

You can find full details on how to show the price at the following link: Preisauszeichnung-im-lebensmittelhandel.pdf (wko.at)

Do wholesalers also need to collect bottles and cans?

Anyone who sells drinks in cans or single-use plastic bottles directly to consumers from 2025 onwards must also collect these containers and is thus a collector. Consequently, this also applies to wholesale partners if these act as final distributors, as can be the case for cash & carry markets, for example. If the wholesale partner only sells to resellers, it is not a final distributor and is therefore not required to collect containers as well.  

Do the collectors need to pay for the logistics?

No. The costs of the transport logistics are borne by Recycling Pfand Österreich. The handling fee includes interim storage of the bags until they are collected and loading of the bags onto the lorry.

My business is located in a shopping centre or street / at a railway station/ at the airport Where do consumers return the bottles and cans?
  • The sales stands can agree on the installation of a common collection point together with tenants or operators in the locality (note: this should be a reverse vending machine), at which empty bottles and cans are collected for all sales stands.
  • The operator of the reverse vending machine registers this collection point with Recycling Pfand Österreich (see "Collection using a reverse vending machine")
What are the requirements for a common collection point in heavily frequented places (such as, for instance, airports, railway stations, shopping centres/streets)?

There should be a reverse vending machine in the immediate vicinity of the sales point (within easy walking distance), meaning not more than about 300 metres away. In order for a reverse vending machine to be defined as a common collection point, a corresponding agreement must be concluded with the operator of this reverse vending machine. In addition, end consumers must be informed of the location of the reverse vending machine and the options for redeeming the deposit voucher.

A reverse vending machine located in a supermarket can also be defined as a common collection point if the supermarket operator is in agreement with this. The opening times of the supermarket do not have to be the same as those of the sales outlet, but regular opening hours must nevertheless be guaranteed.

Muss ein Gastronomiebetrieb, wo ausschließlich vor Ort konsumiert wird auch Pfand an seine Gäste verrechnen?

Gastronomiebetriebe in denen vor Ort konsumiert wird und Getränke nicht mitgenommen werden (zB Restaurant, Kaffeehaus, Club, Diskothek, Bar), müssen den Pfandbetrag nicht weiterverrechnen und sind auch nicht zur Rücknahme verpflichtet.

ACHTUNG: – Dies ist die einzige Sonderregelung, wo der Pfandbetrag nicht an Konsument:innen weiterverrechnet wird! Diese Ausnahme gilt nicht bei Gastro mit Take away!

Der Getränke-Einkauf erfolgt aber IMMER mit Pfandbetrag. Dafür gibt es keine Ausnahme!

Collection using reverse vending machines

How does collection using a reverse vending machine work in detail?
  1. From 1 January 2025, each distributor purchases the products incl. deposit (and is billed for the product and deposit).
  2. The consumer purchases the PET bottle or can incl. the 25-cent deposit.
  3. After finishing their drink, the customer returns the empty bottle or can at a reverse vending machine.
  4. The reverse vending machine checks whether the product is part of the deposit system and in an adequate condition.
  5. If it is, the reverse vending machine issues a voucher for the deposit.
  6. Recycling Pfand Österreich organises the collection together with partners.
  7. The reverse vending machine provider is credited the disbursed deposits of the collected containers as well as a handling fee per item.
  8. In order for this process to be effected, the collector must register with Recycling Pfand Österreich.
What is the minimum volume of containers that makes it worthwhile investing in a reverse vending machine?

A reverse vending machine is only profitable and sensible once a certain number of containers per year is reached. The decision to invest also depends on many other aspects, such as the space available, hygiene, security of the deposit goods against theft, combating fraud, etc.) and can therefore only be individually assessed by the collectors.

Where can I buy a reverse vending machine?

Once the reverse vending machine models have been registered, the list of models will be published.

Which reverse vending machine models are approved?

Once the reverse vending machine models have been registered, the list of models will be published: ewp-infoblatt-rucknahmeautomaten-2024-04-30.pdf (recycling-pfand.at)

Are there subsidies for vending machines?

YES. The funding is provided under the recovery and resilience plan of the European Union and runs until 2026. You can find full details at the following links.

https://www.bmk.gv.at/themen/klima_umwelt/abfall/Kreislaufwirtschaft/foerderungen/pfand-recycling.html

 

What information must deposit vouchers contain?

The voucher must contain a clear barcode for further disbursement of the single-use deposit for cash payment or as a credit note, and must be written in clear and simple German without any mistakes. Also to be indicated in particular are the number of single-use drinks containers inserted into and accepted by the vending machines, the amount of the single-use deposit and the place(s) at which the total amount shown on the single-use deposit voucher is disbursed.

All details can be found in the manual for reverse vending machines (RVM manual).

How does the IT connection need to be designed in reverse vending machines?

The vending machines must be permanently connected to their manufacturer system and also to Recycling Pfand Österreich. This ensures data communication incl. updating with new EAN codes. Details can be found in the collectors’ manual in the Data Management section.

Manual collection

Which products do I have to collect?

In the case of manual collection, those products that were sold via the sales outlet or containers in identical packaging must be collected.

In principle:

  • If a container size (e.g. 0.5-litre PET bottle or 0.25-litre can) is sold at a sales outlet, containers of this size must also be collected, including brands other than those available from the sales outlet in question.
  • The collection is limited to the unit quantities usually purchased.
  • Example: A sausage stand operator does NOT have to take back 20 single-use deposit containers in one go, as they only sells 2-3 bottles or cans per purchase on average.

They do NOT have to take back beverage cans if she/he only sells PET bottles.

How is manual collection done?

There are various possibilities and framework conditions for manual collection:

Manual collection points are predominantly shops or dining outlets in which the consumer does not stay long and therefore mostly takes the bottles and cans with them, consumes the beverages in another place and then also returns the packaging somewhere else. The collected amount is therefore usually much smaller than the sold amount.

If the bottle or can is returned directly to the sales outlet, the consumers are reimbursed their deposit in the amount of 25 cents per container.

  • For collection purposes, the container must be empty and in an adequate condition. Learn more
  • The returned containers are gathered in special bags (details about the bags and seals are available from Recycling Pfand Österreich), which are then sealed, collected and counted.
  • The bags are collected by delivery partners or Recycling Pfand Österreich.

Following the count, the collector receives the deposit of the collected containers and a handling fee from Recycling Pfand Österreich as part of the regular billing cycle.

I have an on-the-go outlet (e.g. small tobacconist, sales stand on a shopping street, etc.). Where do consumers return the bottles and cans?

The consumer usually takes the bottle or can with them, drinks it while out and about and often returns it at a reverse vending machine.  However, they can also return it to the sales outlet.

If, as a collector, you would like to spare yourself the trouble of registering and the process of collecting and counting bags, you can also return the collected bottles and cans yourself at a reverse vending machine return point (e.g. at C&C markets). The advantage of this is the prompt reimbursement of the deposit.

Alternatively, you can register with Recycling Pfand Österreich and collect the bottles and cans in the bags provided.

I am the organiser of a festival / sports event / etc. Where do visitors return the bottles/cans they have bought?

At events where drinks are sold for a limited period of time

> the collection and the reimbursement of the deposit must always be carried out by the respective sales outlets.

> if an event is held in a place of high footfall then a common collection point (in the immediate vicinity, agreement, information to customers) can optionally be indicated. This exempts the individual sales outlets from the collection requirement.

How does the full bag get to the counting point?

There are several ways for the bag to arrive at the counting point / Recycling Pfand Österreich:

Example of bakery store:

The full and sealed sack is either

  • taken by the logistics department of the bakery to its central warehouse and collected from there by Recycling Pfand Österreich

or

  • taken away by wholesalers who regularly supply the store/outlet. Recycling Pfand Österreich regularly collects the bags from the central warehouse of the wholesalers.

or

  • collected directly by Recycling Pfand Österreich. The minimum requirements for collection are still to be defined.
Where do I get the bags with the seals?

The bags are available only via Recycling Pfand Österreich (website or app).

How often are the sealed bags collected?

The collection frequency should either be agreed directly with your drinks supplier or determined at the time of collection, based on the number of full bags to be collected by Recycling Pfand Österreich. The minimum requirements for collection by Recycling Pfand Österreich are currently being elaborated.

How full does the bag need to be before it is collected?

The bag is to be filled so that it can still be easily closed and sealed. The optimal fill level is indicated by a special marking on the bag. The bags are designed to hold 100 to 150 items, depending on which container sizes the sack contains.

Do I need to count the bottles and cans in the bag before I seal it?

No. These bottles and cans do not have to be counted beforehand, as this is done by automatic counting machines in the counting centre of Recycling Pfand Österreich. The deposit is reimbursed on the basis of this count.

Where do I get the seals with the associated GTIN codes?

The seals with the GTIN codes can be requested via the login area on the website.

I have a half full bag, but my business will be closed for the next 2 months (e.g. low season). What can I do with the bag?

Please return the empty containers directly at a reverse vending machine.

I counted 122 empty containers in my returned, sealed bag, but Recycling Pfand Österreich only reimbursed the deposit for 119 of them. How come?

In this case, the counting system of Recycling Pfand Österreich has counted the 119 container units that meet the criteria of the deposit system. As Recycling Pfand Österreich can only reimburse the deposit for bottles and cans for which it has also received the deposit, we regret that no additional disbursement is possible. Recycling Pfand Österreich is always happy to provide a detailed breakdown of the relevant container count for each bag.

The bags are designed to hold approx. 150 containers. Are they allowed to contain more or fewer containers?

In general, only full bags are collected by the logistics department of Recycling Pfand Österreich. The design quantity is only an average value, as the number per bag can vary significantly depending on the type and size of container. It is planned to print a “target fill line” on the bag. This lets you constantly check whether the bag is already full and can be prepared for collection.

Special types of sales

I’m an online retailer and have PET bottles and cans in my product range. Do I have to collect containers from my customers?

In this case, it depends on how the single-use drinks containers are sent to the consumers:

  1. If the online retailer delivers products itself (with its own delivery service): The final distributor has to ensure collection and reimbursement of the deposit at the time of delivery. The deposit can be disbursed using the same method that the order is paid for. The supplier only has to collect those deposit-paid drinks containers that are also offered (this depends on the material and fill volume, not on the brand) and only in the quantity that is normally ordered.
  2. If the online retailer sends products via postal, parcel or freight services, the deposit per container must be levied, although the drinks containers do not have to be collected. A compensatory payment per container has to be paid (to Recycling Pfand Österreich). (The amount depends on the effort and costs involved in making the additional collections at other collection points).
How should collection be implemented if a local provider is unstaffed or a hybrid solution is used (only partially staffed)?

This sales method is to be categorised as a sale via a drinks vending machine.

  • The vending machine operator must either affix a label to the vending machine indicating the location of the nearest collection point or make a compensatory payment to Recycling Pfand Österreich.
  • The empty container should be returned at one of the nearby collection points.
Do delivery services have to demand a deposit for drinks when delivering food?

Yes. The deposit must also be levied when the products are sold via delivery services as part of food orders. The food delivery service does not have to collect empty containers or reimburse the deposit to the consumers. However, as the consumers have to return these single-use drinks containers at other collection points, which gives rise to additional expenditure, a compensatory payment is generally to be paid by the delivery services to Recycling Pfand Österreich.

I am a beverage vending machine operator: where do consumers return the bottles and cans?
  • Bottles and cans can continue to be sold at drinks vending machines as before. The deposit of 25 cents will be added to the price.
  • The empty container should be returned at one of the nearby collection points.
  • The vending machine operator must either affix a label to the vending machine indicating the location of the nearest collection point or make a compensatory payment to Recycling Pfand Österreich.
I operate drinks vending machines and would like to let consumers know about collection options in the immediate vicinity (and thus be exempt from making the compensatory payment). How is the ‘immediate vicinity of the vending machine’ defined?

Immediate vicinity means a distance of about 300 metres from the nearest collection point. Information about this collection point must be displayed on the vending machine and an agreement must be reached with the operator of the collection point.

Does a deposit have to be levied on drinks sold via a hotel minibar?

Minibars are found in hospitality establishments where single-use containers are consumed and not taken away as a general rule. For this reason, a deposit is not levied and there is no collection obligation either.