Ireland’s nationwide deposit return scheme for plastic drink bottles and aluminium cans is now live.
The deposit return scheme (DRS) went live on 1 February. The DRS requires anyone who buys a drink in a plastic bottle or aluminium can featuring a Re-turn logo to pay a deposit which can be redeemed when returning the container empty and undamaged to a participating retailer.
A 15-cent deposit applies to containers between 150ml to 500mls, while a deposit of 25 cents applies to containers between 500ml and 3 litres.
The scheme administrator Re-turn previously said the “majority” of retailers who had registered for the DRS have set up their deposit return points.
The DRS, which the Irish government describes as a “fundamental building block of a circular economy”, is a commitment of the Programme for Government 2020.
Minister of State for Communications and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth welcomed the launch of the DRS, calling it a “once-in-a-generation development” for the Irish beverage industry.
This is an exciting, new initiative which will boost recycling rates, greatly reduce litter, and improve the environment.
Smyth commented: “This is an exciting, new initiative which will boost recycling rates, greatly reduce litter, and improve the environment. We know DRSs work — they operate effectively in over 40 countries around the world, including 15 in Europe, where the average EU collection rate is 92%.
“By giving these containers a financial value, it incentivises consumers to return them. I think people in Ireland will really get behind this scheme and make it a great success; we saw this with the introduction of the plastic bag levy and the Euro.”
Amárach research, commissioned by scheme administrator Re-turn, showed that 82% of consumers supported the introduction of the DRS and 95% plan to engage with the scheme. 76% of consumers said they believe they can make a difference to the environment by recycling drink containers.
94% of those surveyed consider the impact their recycling behaviour will have on future generations at some level and 82% stated that the deposit placed on drink containers will incentivise them to return empty drinks.
When asked for their main reason for why the introduction of the DRS is a good idea, 48% of consumers said they believe the DRS will encourage or incentivise recycling while 33% believe it will reduce waste or litter.
However, research from Every Can Counts Ireland showed that 29% of consumers in Ireland are not confident about how to use the scheme.
36% of respondents said they were concerned they didn’t have enough space to store uncrushed drink containers. While 17% said there were too many steps to follow to participate in the DRS and they didn’t have time to return their cans and plastic bottles.