Singapore announces details of deposit return scheme


The National Environment Agency (NEA) in Singapore has announced details of the beverage container return scheme in the country. 

Under the scheme, all pre-packaged beverages in plastic bottles and metal cans ranging from 150ml 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.

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.

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.

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.

Larger supermarket outlets with floor areas of more than 200m2 will be required to set up return points.

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.

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