Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Law Summary Packaging Act
Date Implemented June 1, 2004 (Deposit system implemented July 1, 2005)
Containers Covered Plastics (mainly PET), metals (aluminum/steel), glass
Beverages Covered

Soft drinks; water; beer; cider; juice; juice concentrates; nectars; low-ethanol alcoholic beverages (up to 6% volume)

Amount of Deposit

Metal, plastics, glass (all sizes): € 0.10 (USD$0.11)

Recovery System

Return to retail

Unclaimed Deposits

Non-returnable plastic up to .5L: €.04
Plastic over .5L, metal, glass: €.086

Handling Fees

Manually accepted containers or RVM accepted containers without compaction: 

o Plastic, metal: €0.029 (USD$0.03) 

o Glass: 0.022€ (USD$0.02)

Other Fees

Packaging Excise Duty (paid by beverage company to government)
Administrative Fee (paid by beverage company to recovery organization)
Riigi Teataja (Estonian)
Packaging Act (Consolidated text August 2008 - English)
Packaging Excise Duty Act (Consolidated text August 2008 - English)

Program Success

Redemption rate (2017):

Total return rate: 82.7%

Can: 73%

PET: 87%

Glass: 88%



The Packaging Act regulates the production and makes provisions for the characteristics of packaging in general, and requires packaging manufacturers to recover and responsibly dispose of the materials they put on the market. Local governments are also obligated to include packaging waste collection in their waste management plan.

In addition to the requirements placed on all packaging materials, a deposit system is implemented only for certain beverage containers. In addition, all types of packaging that do not meet certain recycling thresholds are subject to a packaging excise.

As for the nature of packaging material, it should be kept to a minimal amount and have a minimal impact on the environment (including a limit on the amount of heavy metals that may be found in the material). At the end of its lifespan, packaging is to be recovered by recycling, composting, or recovered in energy generation (through incineration) providing "the packaging shall have a minimum calorific value to allow optimisation of energy recovery." Section 13(5)(2)

Recovery Organizations

Packaging producers are responsible for collecting their packaging and packaging waste, but they may transfer these obligations to a state-accredited recovery organization founded by and comprising packaging companies. As of July 2011, the Ministry of the Environment has accredited four packaging material recovery organizations—the company OÜ TVO and the non-profit organisations Eesti Taaskasutusorganisatsioon and Eesti Pakendiringlus, which manage the collection of packaging materials, and the company OÜ Eesti Pandipakend, (in English, Estonian Deposit packaging Ltd) (EPP), which manages the deposit-refund system for beverage containers. To fund its operations, the EPP keeps all unclaimed deposits and charges service fees. All packaging organizations are run by producers and retailers and must be non-profit; even companies may only use their profits for reinvestment in the company.

The Act also creates the Packaging Committee, an advisory body intended to keep the system running smoothly and on target with its goals.

Recycling Targets (As of 1 January 2009)

A waste recovery rate shall be calculated as a ratio of packaging waste recovered in a calendar year and the mass of packaging of goods put on the market in the same time period, expressed in percentage by weight. Failure to meet these targets may cause the materials to become subject to a packaging excise.

Overal goals

At least 60% recovery of the total mass of packaging waste a calendar year
55-80% recycling of the total mass of packaging waste a calendar year.
Material-specific goals
Glass: 70% recycling of the total mass of glass waste
Paper and cardboard waste, 70% recovery of the total mass and 60% recycling of the total mass
Metal: 60% recycling of the total mass of metal waste
Plastic waste: 55% recovery of the total mass, 45% recycling of the total mass, and 22.5% reprocessing into plastic.
Wood: 45% recovery of the total mass of wood waste, 20% recycling of the total mass
Beverage Container Deposit System
Beverage containers (for soft drinks, beer, low ethanol alcoholic beverages, cider, and perry) are subject to a fully refundable deposit. The minimum deposit by legislation is €.03, and the official deposit, as determined by the Minister for the Environment, is €.04 or €.08 since 1.07.2011.3

Retailers selling packaging with deposits (i.e. beverage containers) are required to take back the containers on their premises, unless they are under 200 square meters, in which case they may collect packaging at another location. Urban vendors under 20 square meters are not obligated to take back packaging.

Packaging producers must submit reports about their sales and recovery. The data from these reports is to be kept in a national database called the packaging register.

The recovery organization designated to handle beverage container deposits in Estonia is Eesti Pandipakend (EPP). The organization has established a labeling system for covered beverages, consisting of a stylized bottle and a letter representing the type of beverage container. All members of the organization must use this marking. Containers in the EPP system also use an EAN bar code.(7)

Additional Fees

Handling Fee

Although handling fees are not specified by law, EPP has established handling fees, paid to all retailers and operators of redemption centers to cover the direct costs related to take-back and handling both empty refillable and non-refillable deposit packaging. Rate of handling fee is a fixed amount for each returned packaging unit of each type of packaging. This amount depends on the manner of accepting returned packages (manually or automatically by RVMs).

Handling fee amounts: (8)

Manual collection 0.0086 € per packaging unit plus VAT (all types of packging)
RVM collection without container compression 0.0192 € per packaging unit plus VAT (all types of packging)
RVM collection with container compression 0.0269 € per packaging unit plus VAT (all types of packging)
Reverse vending machines receive a higher handling fee because they can usually compact the materials, reducing the costs of transportation and handling further on down the chain.(5)

Administrative Fee

Not required by legislation, the Administrative Fee has been established by the EPP to cover its own costs. Beverage companies pay this fee.

2011 Administrative Fees:(9)

Packaging with unique EAN code 0.012 € plus VAT;
Packaging with standard EAN code 0.017 € plus VAT.
No administration fee has been imposed on metal cans.

Packaging Excise Duty (4)

All packaging placed on the market in Estonia is subject to a Packaging Excise Duty to be paid to the Tax and Customs Board. Packaging is exempt from this tax if it has reached certain recovery targets, ranging from 15% to 85%. Full details can be found in the Packaging Excise Duty Act, Section 8. 

Materialduty rate (Euros per kg)
glass and ceramics 0.6
plastic 2.5
metal 2.5
paper and cardboard, including composite cardboard 1.2
other 1.2


Except where specified in referenced footnotes, all information on this page was found in Packaging Act (Consolidated text August 2008 - English)


2. Peter Eek. Personal Communication. June 29, 2011.

3. Packaging Excise Duty Act (consolidated text September 2008).

4. Peter Eek. Personal Communication. June 29, 2011.

5. Peter Eek. Personal Communication. June 29, 2011.

6. Peter Eek. Personal Communication. June 29, 2011.


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