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Regulations have been signed for a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans

The drinks industry is to fund and operate the scheme.

Image: Shutterstock

A DEPOSIT RETURN scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles and aluminium cans will come into force next year after Environment Minister Eamon Ryan signed new legislative regulations today. 

The regulations will provide the framework for choosing an operator for the scheme, as well as setting out the obligations on producers, retailers and return point operators under the scheme.

The aim of the scheme is to reduce single-use plastics, help Ireland meet EU targets and promote a wider circular economy.

The DRS system is supposed to incentivise consumers to return their empty containers for recycling or reuse, and to help avoid plastic bottles and aluminium cans being discarded as litter.

The Department of the Environment worked closely with representatives from the drinks industry, who will fund and operate the scheme, in drafting the regulations.

Establishing a DRS was part of the Programme for Government, and the timeline for its establishment was set out in the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, published in September 2020. 

The next step is the appointment, by Ryan, of an approved body to operate the scheme and to fix the rate of the deposit to be paid.

The scheme is expected to become operational across the country in Quarter 3 of 2022

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At the launch of the public consultation paper outlining three main ideas for the DRS last year, 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,” he said.

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