Bottle Bill Resource Guide

Law Summary Packaging Act and Packaging Excise Duty Act [1]
Date Implemented 6/1/2004 (Implemented 7/1/2005)
Containers Covered
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Glass
Beverages Covered
  • Soft drinks
  • Water
  • Beer
  • Cider
  • Juice, nectars and juice concentrate
  • Low-ethanol alcoholic beverages (≤ 6% alcohol by volume)
Beverages Not Covered
  • Alcoholic beverages (>6% alcohol by volume)
  • Dairy and dairy-based products
Amount of Deposit


Recovery System

Return to retail

Unclaimed Deposits

Retained by system administrator (Eesti Pandipakend OÜ).

Handling Fees

Manual collection:

  • Plastic/Metal: €0.0115
  • Glass: €0.0130

RVM without compaction (Plastic/Metal):

  • €0.0215

RVM with compaction (Plastic/Metal):

  • €0.0331

RVM collection (Glass):

  • €0.0250
All handling fees do not include value-added tax (VAT). [2]
Program Success

Redemption rate (2019): [3]

  • Overall: 87.2%
  • Metal: 88.0%
  • Plastic: 86.9%
  • Glass: 87.3%

Redemption rate (2017):

  • Overall: 82.7%
  • Metal: 73.0%
  • Plastic: 87.0%
  • Glass: 88.0%



The Packaging Act, implemented in 2005, regulates the production of packaging and makes provisions for the characteristics of packaging in general, requiring that packaging manufacturers 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.

The Act requires that packaging material be kept at a minimum(with an additional 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 in energy generation (through incineration) providing "the packaging shall have a minimum calorific value to allow optimization of energy recovery." [4] All types of packaging that do not meet certain recycling thresholds are subject to a packaging excise.

In addition to the requirements placed on all packaging materials, a deposit system on both one-way and refillable containers was implemented.

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 organizations 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 January 1, 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.

Overall 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. [5]

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: [6]

  • Manual collection 0.0086 € per packaging unit plus VAT (all types of packaging)
  • RVM collection without container compression 0.0192 € per packaging unit plus VAT (all types of packaging)
  • RVM collection with container compression 0.0269 € per packaging unit plus VAT (all types of packaging)
  • Reverse vending machines receive a higher handling fee because they can usually compact the materials, reducing the costs of transportation and handling further down the chain. [7]

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: [8]

  • 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 [9]

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 ceramics0.6
paper and cardboard, including composite cardboard1.2



[1] "Global Deposit Book 2020: An Overview of Deposit Systems for One-Way Beverage Containers." Reloop Inc. December 15, 2020.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Packaging Act, Riigikogu § 13.4.2 (2021).

[5]  "Requirements of Packaging." Eesti Pandipakend. Last accessed August 17, 2023.

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

[7]  Packaging Excise Duty Act (consolidated text September 2008).

[8] Peter Eek. Personal Communication. June 29, 2011.

[9] Peter Eek. Personal Communication. June 29, 2011.

 Updated August 17, 2023.

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