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Three options proposed for design of new deposit return scheme

The public have been invited to give feedback on the proposed design of the scheme.

Image: Shutterstock/ITTIGallery

THE PUBLIC HAVE been asked to give feedback on the proposed design of a deposit return scheme that would seek to increase recycling rates.

The scheme would see a 20c deposit introduced on plastic bottles up to 3 litres and aluminium cans that would be refunded when a container is returned.

A public consultation paper has been launched today to invite submissions on the design of the scheme.

The paper outlines three main options for how the deposit return scheme would work that the public can give feedback on.

The first option would involve a “centralised or operational DRS” that would be owned and led by producers, but with most of the responsibility for running the scheme given to a scheme operator.

Producers with beverage containers for sale in Ireland could establish their own scheme operator, or form a partnership with an existing approved scheme.

The scheme operator would set producer fees and have responsibility for managing the collecting, sorting, treatment and sale for recycling of the materials that are returned, and provide machines at retail outlets where people can return their bottles and cans.

The scheme operator would also be responsible for raising awareness and education about the deposit return scheme and producing annual reports and accounts.

The second option is a “decentralised or financial DRS”, which would give more responsibility for reaching targets to the producers themselves and a more limited role to scheme operators.

The paper outlines that “while a decentralised scheme would also be given legislative underpinning, responsibility for target attainment is given to producers generally”.

Other responsibilities would then fall on entities carrying out specific elements of the scheme, such as collectors. Those entities would receive financial support from the scheme operator for their actions under the scheme.

In a decentralised model, “typically producers will collect their own containers or will contract out collection of their own containers, so that there can be multiple collectors and different systems”.

The third option laid out in the paper is a hybrid model that would combine elements of both the centralised and decentralised approaches.

The report recommends the second option of a decentralised / financial scheme, and is asking for feedback on whether the public agrees with its recommendation or would support one of the other two options.

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The submission period opened today and is due to close on 12 November.

The proposed scheme comes as part of Ireland’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy.

At the publication of the paper, Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said that Ireland must “adapt our approach to how we use and manage our resources”.

“We must strive to keep resources in circulation for as long as possible and the introduction of a DRS is a first step in this, as we need to collect and recycle more plastic bottles and aluminium cans,” Ryan said.

“It will also help to reduce litter and will ensure that we meet the EU targets which are coming down the tracks,” he said

“This consultation paper is the first step in this process and I hope that interested stakeholders and members of the public take the time to consider the issues around DRS and support its introduction.”

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