March 5, 2021
Deposit return scheme must be ambitious – Senator Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has raised the need for a comprehensive Deposit Return Scheme to help deal with our waste problems.

These schemes, which allow for the return of mainly drinks containers in exchange for payment, are in place across Europe and have proven to be very successful.
 
Speaking in the Seanad today, Senator Paul Gavan said;
 
“Establishing a deposit return scheme is a once in a generation chance to help deal with waste which we know is a major problem across the State.
 
“Last year, Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) found five-in-six beaches and waterways were not considered clean enough to meet European standards. And in Ireland we currently produce the highest volume of plastic waste per person in the EU.
 
“But the government planned deposit return scheme excludes glass. Recycling rates for glass in Ireland reduced from 86 to 78 percent between 2018 and 2019, which meant close to 30 million glass bottles were not recycled.
 
“The plan to exclude glass flies in the face of internationally recognised best practice on deposit return schemes including Denmark which has achieved a recycling rate of 90% for glass. In late 2020 some twenty leading Irish voices signed a letter calling for the inclusion of glass including the CEO’s of Friends of the Earth and An Taisce.
 
“Another issue is the deposit itself. Deposit return schemes with a variable deposit have been successfully implemented in 20 markets worldwide including Canada, and a number of US States. The Netherlands is also set to introduce a system with a variable deposit level.
 
“We need a deposit return scheme that is fit for purpose and we must make it one of the leading schemes in the world and one that countries across the EU and beyond can admire and replicate.
 
“Failure is not an option. The deposit return scheme needs to be ambitious and glass must be included.”

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