Implementing Digital DRS Programs: State vs City

Implementing Digital DRS Programs: State vs City
| 3 Min read

The Deposit Refund System is a recyclable waste recovery program that incentivises consumers to return their post-consumption packaging waste like water bottles, tetra pak, glass bottles, multi-level plastic, etc.

The first deposit refund system was introduced in 1799 when Dublin-based artificial soda firm A & R Thwaites & Co paid two shillings to consumers for returned bottles. Their competitor Schweppes too implemented a similar policy in 1800. In 1884, Sweden established the first country-wide glass bottle deposit return/recycling system enforced by law, followed by Denmark in 1922.

Following its lead, several other countries, including Germany, Norway, and the United States, implemented DRS in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, more and more countries began to adopt DRS, and today, around 45 countries worldwide have some form of DRS in place. 

While the classical model used by these countries can still be reliable today, a newer & better model, termed the ‘digital Deposit Refund System’, shows greater promise in boosting the recovery rate and improving its effectiveness.

In this blog, you will learn about the digital Deposit Refund System and the difference in its implementation for states and cities.

What is Digital Deposit Refund System

A digital Deposit Defund System is an innovative take on the classical model, which aims to digitise the entire process and improve the traceability of the packaging material throughout the value chain.

The Digital DRS model utilises several tech solutions like unique, traceable QR codes, reverse vending machines, smart bins and mobile apps to create a digital ecosystem, which makes the process easier for the consumers.

This digital ecosystem facilitates easy scalability, improves consumer convenience, provides real-time insights and augments efficiency, accuracy & traceability, leading to much higher recovery rates than the classical model.

Digital Deposit Refund System programs implemented by Recykal in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, Bali Yatra, Odisha and several other locations have proven highly successful, with a significant increase in the packaging recovery rates.

Digital DRS Implementation: State vs City

Implementing a digital deposit refund system (DRS) can vary in approach and scope depending on whether it is implemented at the city or state level. Both city and state programs have their unique considerations and challenges. Let’s explore the differences in implementing digital DRS programs at the city and state levels:

Scope and Jurisdiction

When implementing a DRS program, cities typically focus on their local area, while states cover a larger geographic region. This means city programs serve a specific municipality or urban area, while state programs involve coordination among multiple cities and regions.

Legislative Framework

State-level DRS programs require passing state-level legislation to establish the necessary rules and regulations. On the other hand, city-level programs may require local mandates to be enacted to give them legal authority.

Stakeholder Engagement

City-level programs have more direct interaction with local businesses, retailers, and community organisations. They work closely with these stakeholders to ensure smooth implementation. Due to their broader reach, state-level programs involve engaging a larger and more diverse set of stakeholders, including retailers, manufacturers, waste management entities, and environmental agencies.

Infrastructure Requirements

City-level programs typically have smaller-scale infrastructure needs. For example, they may set up collection centres or reverse vending machines within the city limits. In contrast, state-level programs require a more extensive infrastructure network to handle higher returns, including collection points, transportation systems, and processing facilities.

Operational Logistics

City programs focus on managing logistics within their boundaries, including collecting, sorting, and processing returned items. State-level programs face the challenge of coordinating logistics across different cities or regions, including transportation and the coordination of multiple collection and processing facilities.

Technology Implementation

Both the city and state programs require the implementation of digital platforms and technology systems to manage deposits, refunds, and data. However, state-level programs often need more complex and integrated technological solutions to handle the larger scale of operations and data management involved.

Funding and Financing

Funding sources can differ between city and state programs. City programs may rely on local budgets, grants, or specific funding sources within their jurisdiction. On the other hand, state programs may have access to state-level funding sources, legislative appropriations, or a combination of funding mechanisms.

Implementation Timeline

City programs can often be implemented more quickly due to their smaller scale and more localised decision-making processes. State-level programs, however, may take longer as they involve legislative processes, coordination among various stakeholders, and establishing a larger infrastructure network before full implementation can occur.

Closing the Loop

In conclusion, the implementation process of a digital deposit refund system (DRS) can vary between cities and states, as city-level programs require releasing a simple mandate and working closely with the organisations, while state-level ones require full-fledged legislation and a large-scale implementation network.

Recykal, a leading cleantech company driving the circular economy in India, is actively spearheading the implementation of digital deposit refund systems (DDRS) across cities and states in the country using technologies like uniquely identifiable QR codes, mobile app-based payment & tracking ecosystem, reverse vending machines, smart bins, etc. 

It has partnered with municipalities, state governments, and stakeholders nationwide to establish efficient and effective DDRS programs. If you’re interested in learning more about Recykal’s DRS initiatives and the transformative impact of DDRS, Visit their website for further information.

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