The roadmap for the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans in Q3 2022 was outlined in the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, published in September 2020. I continue to work towards meeting that deadline and the Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations 2021, which provide the legal framework for the scheme, in particular the terms under which a scheme operator may be approved, were recently signed. The regulations also set out the obligations that will fall to producers, retailers and return point operators under the scheme.
The introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme will assist in reducing single use plastics, thus helping Ireland meet EU targets while promoting a wider circular economy. Materials to be included in the scheme will be those for which Ireland faces immediate, challenging EU recycling and separate collection targets. The scheme will therefore focus on plastic bottles and aluminium beverage cans. Recycling rates in Ireland for glass are significantly above current EU targets.
The Regulations provide that other materials may be considered for inclusion in the Deposit Return Scheme when the scheme is fully established.