When the beverage container return scheme begins, pre-packaged beverages in plastic bottles and metals cans displaying a deposit mark will include a refundable deposit of 10 cents
Singapore, 21 March 2023 – The National Environment Agency (NEA) has announced details of the beverage container return scheme (Scheme). Under the Scheme, all pre-packaged beverages in plastic bottles and metal cans ranging from 150 millilitres to 3 litres will have a refundable deposit of 10 cents . This deposit will be fully refunded when empty beverage containers are returned at designated return points.
2 Manufacturers and importers of such pre-packaged beverages will be required to join the Scheme. Plastic bottles and metal cans are included, as they comprise about 70 per cent of beverage containers put to market, have high material values, and are easy to collect, compact and recycle.
3 All beverage containers covered under the Scheme will display a deposit mark and barcode. The deposit mark helps consumers identify products that are part of the Scheme and thus eligible for refund of deposits, while the barcode facilitates the return of the containers and serves as an anti-fraud measure.
4 When the Scheme commence on 1 April 2025, producers will start supplying labelled products which carry deposits. There would be a transitionary period between 1 April 2025 and 30 June 2025 for the beverage and retail industry to clear older unlabelled stocks, which will not carry deposits or be eligible for deposit refunds. By the full implementation date on 1 July 2025, all beverage containers covered under the Scheme must be labelled and have deposits when supplied in Singapore.
5 Larger supermarket outlets with floor areas of more than 200m2 will be required to set up return points. Supermarkets are major sales channels of pre-packaged beverages and popular return locations . A return-to-retail approach is shown to be efficient and associated with high return rates in similar overseas schemes. To enhance convenience to consumers, NEA will work with the Scheme Operator to set up additional return points in the community.
6 The Scheme Operator is preferred to be a not-for-profit and industry-led organisation. An industry-led Scheme Operator could tap on the industry's capabilities and resources and be incentivised to operate efficiently.
7 Following NEA’s consultations with the beverage industry, several beverage producers have expressed interest to jointly support the establishment of the Scheme Operator. MSE and NEA will continue to engage industry players on the appointment of a suitable Scheme Operator.
8 To safeguard the interests of various stakeholders, requirements will be prescribed for up to one-third of the Scheme Operator’s key appointment holders (e.g., members of the Board of Directors). These key appointment holders must be approved by NEA.
9 An 80 per cent return rate target will be imposed on the Scheme Operator by the third year. Return rate target of 60 per cent and 70 per cent will be set for the first and second year respectively as a transitionary period. At steady state, an estimated 800 million plastic bottles and metal cans will be returned for recycling annually. This target is in line with similar Schemes implemented in over 50 jurisdictions globally, such as Norway, Germany, and Lithuania.
10 NEA will work with the Scheme Operator to continue to engage stakeholders such as beverage producers and supermarket operators in the lead up to the Scheme commencement.
Recycle right and grow the recycling industry
11 The Scheme was a recommendation by the 2019 Citizens’ Workgroup on #RecycleRight. Following this, the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) and NEA have conducted over two years of extensive engagement with the industry and the public to co-develop a Scheme that is suitable for our local context. In September 2022, NEA conducted a month-long public consultation to solicit views from the wider public on the proposed Scheme. MSE and NEA have considered and studied the responses received to develop a suitable Scheme for Singapore. The findings are available on the REACH website (https://go.gov.sg/nea-bcrs).
12 Packaging waste makes up about a third of the domestic waste disposed of in Singapore and about 60 per cent of this is plastic waste. However, its recycling rate remains low. In 2021, only 6 per cent of plastic waste generated was recycled. The Scheme will contribute to our zero waste efforts by increasing the recycling rate of beverage containers, reduce the amount of waste disposed of and reduce carbon emissions. It will cultivate recycling habits amongst Singaporeans and aggregate clean recyclables. By increasing the supply and quality of recyclables collected, the Scheme will also support the development of Singapore’s recycling industry.
 The deposit amount will be set at $0.10 per container and will not be subject to GST.
 Based on a survey of 1,000 households conducted in early 2021, supermarkets were among the most preferred return location across all the age segments.
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