Chambers Ireland welcomes Deposit Return Scheme

Chambers Ireland, the voice of business throughout Ireland, has welcomed an announcement by Government that legislative regulations for a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles and aluminium cans in Ireland have been signed.

The organisation, which previously made a submission on models for a Deposit Return Scheme in November 2020, agreed with the Government’s position that the introduction of the scheme will assist in reducing single use plastics, help Ireland meet EU recycling targets and promote a wider transition to the circular economy.

Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot, said: “The Deposit Return Scheme is a welcome development in Ireland’s circular ambitions. By helping to limit use of virgin plastics, it will serve as an important tool in minimising our collective impact on the environment and support businesses to adopt more sustainable practices in their supply chain.

“In assessing the scheme, it is worth looking through the lens of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. While it perhaps most squarely falls under responsible consumption and production, we can see additional benefits across clean water, economic growth, industry and innovation, climate action and life below water. This demonstrates the value of using the SDGs to understand the impact of policy choices.

Mr Talbot said the scheme will support Ireland to meet targets included in the EU Single Use Plastics Directive. This sets out a collection target of 90% for plastic bottles by 2029 with an interim target of 77% by 2025. In 2020, Ireland’s separate collection rate for polyethylene terephthalate bottles (PET) and aluminium beverage cans was an estimated 55%.

“Too few plastic bottles and cans are currently being captured for recycling by our current system and too many are being discarded as litter. This Deposit Return Scheme will increase recycling rates and support the circular economy by keeping materials in productive use, securing the resource value of existing materials and reducing demand for new materials.

“Overall, the introduction of this scheme is an important step towards achieving our targets this decade and a strong example of how policy should work to help us meet our goals. As we move to further integrate circular practices into our economy, we hope to see additional schemes that will support businesses and consumers to make choices which better reflect their concern for our environment and the resilience of our economy.

“If managed well, the overall transition to the circular economy will have major benefits for the labour market, including the creation of job opportunities and reducing inequalities through a redistribution of value.”