Deposit Return Scheme expected to be operational by Q3 next year
23 November 2021
Minister Eamon Ryan has 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 introduction of a DRS scheme will assist in reducing single use plastics, help Ireland meet EU targets and promote a wider circular economy.
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. A commitment to establish 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 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.
NFRN welcomes announcement
After more than a year of discussions, the Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has welcomed the Irish government’s announcement.
In a press statement, the NFRN said: “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.”
“We are pleased that this important scheme is moving in the right direction,” said the NFRN’s head of political engagement Adrian Roper. “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.”
Retail Ireland response
Ibec group Retail Ireland also welcomed the publication of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) regulations.
“The publication of the regulations is an important milestone, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Retail Ireland director Arnold Dillon.
“It is vital that we continue to learn from the experience of other EU countries on how best to design and roll out the Irish scheme,” he continued. “Clarity is still required on issues relating to planning permission and VAT. Crucially, we need to ensure there is a realistic implementation timeline.
“Retailers will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure this transformative scheme operates effectively and succeeds in meeting Ireland’s EU targets and circular economy goals.”