Retailers: new law would cause huge bottlenecks

15.09.2022 - 11:07
Retailers: new law would cause huge bottlenecks
It may soon be possible to return all deposit bottles and cans at the same place. Convenient for customers but a nightmare for retailers, say store managers
The current law only requires retailers to accept deposit containers that they sell in their stores

A proposal for a centralised bottle deposit system has been sent for consultation.

Essentially, the proposal (text in Faroese only) seeks to make it possible to return deposit bottles and cans in one place instead of having to queue up in several places to get rid of all containers.


In its current form, the proposal only covers containers for non-alcoholic drinks

Big bottlenecks for retailers

The bottle refund machine at the Á grocery store in Tórshavn’s á Hálsi district only accepts containers sold in the store.

However, in anticipation of a law change, the management has made it possible for customers ask staff members to process other containers manually.

"This only shifts the burden from the customer to the retailer,” says store manager Meinhard Akraberg Hansen.

“We now have to sort all the containers into no less than 16 different bags. It’s a big mess, to be honest.”


Meinhard Akraberg Hansen and his staff at the Á grocery store in Tórshavn’s á Hálsi district need to sort deposit containers into 16 different bags, which he says is a bit of a hassle

More work needed

This view is echoed by Niels Mortensen, CEO of the SMS consortium, which owns grocery chains Bónus, Miklagarður and Mylnan.

“There is a reason why it has taken so long to change this system – it’s because we retailers cannot find agreement on anything. But one thing is clear: in its current form, this proposal is useless,” he says.

“Once we have sorted all the containers, we need to wait for all the different container importers to come and pick up their containers. This will lead to huge piles of bottles in our warehouses, and that is not only unsanitary – it’s a clear fire hazard. But it’s good that we retailers are given the chance to comment on the proposal.”


Hello from the other side: the bottle refund machine in SMS, Tórshavn

The consultation deadline for the proposal is 7 October.


Read the Faroese versions of this article here, here and here.

Translated by

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