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Ireland Unveils Nationwide Deposit Return Scheme to Tackle Beverage Waste

Dublin: In a groundbreaking move, Ireland has launched a comprehensive money-back program aimed at curbing beverage waste through an innovative deposit return scheme. The government’s objective is to incentivize recycling by offering deposit refunds for the return of undamaged bottle containers, while those who fail to participate will incur a loss of 15 to 25 cents per container. This initiative targets the retrieval and recycling of plastic bottles and other discarded items found on roadsides and beaches, aiming to repurpose them into new containers and cans.

This deposit return scheme aligns with successful models implemented in 40 countries globally, with 15 in Europe alone, boasting an impressive 92% average container return rate across the European Union.

Under the programme, consumers will pay a refundable fee, in addition to the drink price, for items marked with the Re-Turn logo. Deposits will amount to 15 cents for drinks up to 500 ml and 25 cents for larger beverages. Over 1,800 machines supporting the scheme have already been installed in various shops nationwide, with an additional 200 small shop owners set to manually implement the initiative. The return process will be facilitated through reverse vending machines located at retail outlets.

Ireland annually witnesses the sale of two billion aluminium drink cans and plastic bottles, with only 60% undergoing recycling. The remaining portion is either incinerated or discarded in public spaces. Minister of State for Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth, anticipates a remarkable increase in the recycling rate, potentially reaching 90%, through the implementation of this visionary scheme.

Minister Smyth commended the swift adoption of this complex system by the country’s industrial leaders and assured unwavering support for local businesses and communities. Ciaran Foley, CEO of Re-Turn, the company spearheading the initiative, hailed it as the most significant transformative circular economy project in the nation’s history, foreseeing heightened recycling rates and a consequential reduction in waste and emissions.

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