More than two million drink containers collected in Ireland’s DRS scheme in first month


More than two million drink containers have been collected in Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in its first month of operation, as the UK’s equivalent scheme is struck by a delay.

A further 670,000 containers were collected during the first weekend of March.

Ireland launched its DRS, a countrywide initiative offering incentives for recycling plastic drinks bottles and aluminium cans, at the start of February.

The move increased pressure on the UK government to follow suit but it was recently revealed that the UK scheme was likely to be delayed by three years until 2028.

In the UK the DRS has already been under development in the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for seven years since 2017.

An industry source told the i newspaper that the delays were “baffling” when compared to other countries which had introduced similar policies.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, scheme administrator Re-turn said over 705,000 transactions have been recorded in February, which meant that over two million drinks containers were returned to participating shops and supermarkets in the scheme across Ireland.

February 21 was the most active day with just under 201,000 drinks containers returned.

Re-turn said there are 2,202 reverse vending machines (RVMs) and over 150 manual return points across 1,380 deposit return locations in the country.

Ciaran Foley, CEO of Re-turn, said: “I am really encouraged by the support and participation shown by Irish consumers during the first month of the scheme.

“Over this past weekend, we collected another 670,000 containers and to have nearly 3 million deposit returns at this early stage shows a willingness and commitment to reducing litter, protecting our environment and better recycling.”

Last month, the Food and Drink Federation urged the government to implement a “world-beating” producer-led extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme by the end of the next parliamentary term to drive up plastic packaging recycling.

Meanwhile, a digital deposit return scheme (DDRS) trial is set to be implemented in London in the second quarter of this year.


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