SMART DRS – The Future of Waste Collection Starts in Serbia

SMART DRS – The Future of Waste Collection Starts in Serbia

  • RLG provides key technology for pilot “Smart Urban Packaging Waste Collection System”
  • Using Data Matrix is likely to revolutionize recycling
  • SMART DRS facilitates deposit returns in and beyond retail

Aschheim, Munich, 2023-03-13, As part of an international consortium v. Initiated by Ball Packaging Europe, the Serbian Green Dot organization SEKOPAK and sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the project paves the way to introducing packaging waste collection in Serbia. “SMART DRS” is a state-of-the-art technology offering a wide range of opportunities with regard to the circular economy, the avoidance of fraud as well as to marketing. Other partners include start-up Solagro, retail chain Mercator S, and numerous packaging producers.

Unique Coding System – the game changer to prevent fraud

Based on a unique coding system, the packaging is labelled with a unique data matrix code at the point of sale. Upon activation, the product’s lifecycle can be monitored till its return, where the code is deactivated, thus avoiding fraud and generating valuable data. Furthermore, participating Beverage Producers receive weekly reports on products, such as put-to-market, collected units, volume, and location of collection. “Avoiding fraud makes SMART DRS a game changer.” states Marcel Rakowski RLG EVP Corporate Development and adds “Apart from full traceability that provides valuable data to the DRS system and stakeholders, SMART DRS is likely to significantly reduce collection costs in the medium-term.”

One system for all types of packaging 

No matter what type of packaging – “SMART DRS” can be used for all different types of packaging such as alu, glass, PET, beverage, or multi-layered cardboard cartons. This is made possible by the hardware that includes RVM (reverse vending machines), E‑Bins with or without manual crushing units and handheld scanners. While RLG provides the counting and recognition software – including the Ring 360° for RVM – Solagro, a Serbian Start-Up is – with its mobile consumer reward app – responsible for the gamification and for integrating the system into Mercator’s IT infrastructure. “The whole project has been a major challenge with ambitious goals – after all, this is what a pilot is all about! Yet, first results allow us to be very optimistic about the project’s outcome.”, states Jelena Simić, RLG Manager Corporate Development. “The experience and knowledge we are gaining during the pilot gets us ahead in shaping the future of DRS.”

2025 – Deadline for implementation of EU legislation

EU Member states are obliged to implement EU legislation on waste packaging recycling by 2025. Based on its 30-year experience in the recycling economy, RLG offers a wide range of services and solutions to all stakeholders involved, such as governments, system administrators, producers, municipalities, and retailers. Environmental Compliance Services include Environmental Compliance Management, Producer Responsibility Organisations (PRO), and Collection System as well as Deposit Return System.

For more details on the pilot project and statements, please refer to “Project Outline: Smart Urban Packaging Waste Collection System”.


PressProject lead
Georg Empl, Marketing Manager
Tel: +49 (89) 490 491 52
Jelena Simić, Business Development Manager
Tel: +49 (151) 610 60 547
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