Deposit Refund System would help tackle plastic waste – Andrew Doyle, Fine Gael candidate for Wicklow

A Deposit Refund System (DRS) warrants serious consideration by the Government if we’re to get serious on drastically reducing our use of single use plastic bottles, according to Andrew Doyle, Fine Gael General Election candidate for Wicklow.

He says: “On average, every person in Wicklow generates approximately 58kg of plastic waste per year. Plastic waste makes a major contribution to the chronic problem of pollution, damaging our cities, countryside and oceans. One thing that has impacted on me over the past 18 months is how the whole area of climate action is resonating with Irish people. I feel encouraged that we realise that change needs to happen now, in how we live, travel and do our work. But we need to work together as a society to bring these changes about.”

“The principal of the Deposit Refund Scheme is that the consumer pays a small deposit on the beverage at the point of sale. This deposit is then refunded to the consumer once the bottle is returned. The returns generally take place at vending machines that are installed on the retailers’ premises.”

“A total of 39 countries already have deposit return schemes which charge an upfront deposit on drinks containers. These range from 10 cents in Sweden to 25 cents in Germany. Scotland launched the first national scheme in the UK recently and it will cover glass and plastic bottles, as well as aluminium and steel drinks cans, sold from any shop in Scotland.”

“Germany’s scheme has been most successful. From first introducing the scheme in 2003, it now has a 99% recycling rate. Once returned, retailers are then responsible for disposing of the containers appropriately.”

“Deposit Refund Systems reduce waste, raise recovery rates, save money, create jobs and enjoy high public support. While I acknowledge that the introduction of such a system is costly, we need to seriously consider examples of countries, like Germany, that have their waste management firmly under control, so we can follow suit.”