The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, launched last September, sets out a clear roadmap for the introduction of a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles and aluminium cans in the third quarter of 2022. This process began with the launch of a public consultation on the design of a DRS for Ireland in October last year. It was encouraging to see the level of public engagement in this first consultation with the majority of the 364 submissions received supporting the introduction of the Scheme and favouring a centralised, legislation based system, operated by a single entity. The submissions received under this consultation will be published shortly on my Department’s website.
Following this consultation, a stakeholder working group, consisting of beverage producers, retailers, eNGOs and waste collectors was established to progress the design of the system. The Department of Agriculture, Environment Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland have sat in on the working group discussions as observers.
The second step in the process was a further consultation on the regulatory framework for the Scheme which concluded on 7 May. Submissions received under this are currently being assessed and will inform the working group in their deliberations on a final regulatory framework.
I intend to finalise Regulations enabling the introduction of the Deposit and Return scheme early in the third quarter of this year, in order to enable the scheme to commence in the third quarter of 2022.