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Deposit-return scheme on bottles and cans to start rolling out in shops

A 15c deposit will apply to cans and bottles up to 500ml and a 25c deposit on those over 500ml.

A DEPOSIT-RETURN SCHEME planned to roll out in the next two years will impose a small extra charge on cans and bottles to be refunded to the customer if the container is returned.

A 15c deposit will apply to cans and bottles up to 500ml and a 25c deposit on those over 500ml under the new measure, which is trying to reduce litter and increase recycling rates.

Retailers selling cans and plastic bottles need to register with the scheme operator on and will receive a fee worth 10% of the value of deposits. 

Machines will be fitted in shops for customers to return their containers, where they will be able to choose whether to receive their refunded deposit as cash or credit for the shop, or make a donation to charity.

The scheme won’t be fully operational until February 2024 but some shops have already introduced it on a pilot basis.

Minister of State for Circular Economy Ossian Smyth compared the system to the use of coins to operate trolleys at supermarkets.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Smyth said that “it’s the same as when you arrive at a supermarket and you need a trolley and you put it in a coin. You put down a deposit and you get it back when you return the trolley.”

“It’s a deposit on the bottle. You get it back when you return it. In order to get the money back, you go back to any shop – it doesn’t have to be the one you bought it in – and you will put it into a machine and they will issue you with a ticket,” he outlined.

“You can choose to spend it in the shop if you want, or you can choose to have cash, or you can give it to a charity. You’ll have those options on the machine.”

The minister referenced that Ireland uses 1.9 billion bottles and cans a year and that the country is not recycling enough to meet EU targets in 2025 and 2030.

“In order to do that, we believe that we need to give people an incentive to bring back the bottle or the can,” he said.

“Many people are putting it into their green bin but it’s just not enough and a lot are ending up on the ground.

“There is a lot of litter and a benefit that’s going to come out of this scheme is that people are not going to have a party and leave a lot of cans and bottles on the ground because they’re going to be worth money.

“You can pick up somebody else’s cans or bottles – children will do that and will get money back. I’m sure there’s going to be far less litter as a result.”

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