The Government is determined to reduce the excessive use of plastics. As a first step, the purchase of single use plastics has been banned throughout the public service. We are determined to increase recycling of plastics from 37% now to 55% in the coming years and, along with other EU member states, to phase out non-recyclable plastics entirely. A Deposit and Return Scheme is one option proposed for EU member states to consider as a means of increasing the collection of plastic beverage containers and achieve the new 90% target for this waste stream identified in the Single Use Plastic Directive.
A number of grass roots community initiatives are emerging across the country which support responsible waste management, which I welcome. However, the introduction of a new national initiative such as a Deposit and Return Scheme needs to be fully understood and the costs and impacts identified to make evidence-based decision making. In January this year I announced a national study which will consider how we can deliver a 90% collection target for single use beverage containers, including plastic bottles in Ireland. This study will also examine the possibility of introducing a Deposit and Return Scheme and how this might operate in an Irish context. This study will be completed in the coming weeks.