Retailers welcome Government movement on deposit return scheme

Retailers welcome Government movement on deposit return scheme

The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has welcomed the news that the Irish government has published the draft regulations for the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

Many of the details, particularly relating to the day to day operation of the scheme, have yet to be decided.  However, the regulations will place a number of obligations on retailers, including to itemise the deposit on till receipts, register with the scheme administrator and take back empty containers.

The level of the deposit has not been specified, but it will apply to PET bottles and cans used for drinks up to a size of 3l.

The NFRN’s head of political engagement Adrian Roper said: “We are pleased that this important scheme is moving in the right direction. We will continue to engage with ministers and the scheme administrators, when appointed, to ensure that DRS in Ireland is robust and works for all retailers.”

The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, signed the legislative regulations for a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in Ireland for plastic bottles and aluminium cans, which will come into force next year.

The Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations, Statutory Instrument no. 599, provide the framework within which the Minister may approve a scheme operator. The regulations also set out the obligations that will fall to producers, retailers and return point operators under the scheme.

The introduction of a DRS scheme will assist in reducing single use plastics, help Ireland meet EU targets and promote a wider circular economy.

A DRS is a system used to incentivise consumers to return their empty beverage containers for recycling or reuse. The DRS being introduced in Ireland is focused on plastic bottles and aluminium cans, to ensure that more of these are captured for recycling and to avoid these being discarded as litter.

In drafting the regulations, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has worked closely with representatives from the beverage industry who will fund and operate the scheme.

The next step is the appointment, by the Minister, of an approved body to operate the scheme. Further engagement is also required with stakeholders, to fix the rate of the deposit to be paid on in-scope bottles and cans. The scheme is expected to become operational across the country in Quarter 3 of 2022.