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Government needs to consider Deposit Refund System if it’s serious about tackling plastic waste – Hayes

New EU legislation tackling single-use plastics should prompt the Government to consider introducing a Deposit Refund System (DRS) said Brian Hayes MEP.

“The European Commission’s first draft of legislation behind its Plastics Strategy suggests that single-use beverage containers should be designed so that their lids and caps stay attached to the bottle. Also, the aim is for 90% of single-use plastic bottles to be collected by 2025. The draft names and shames other items which may also be phased out. These include cotton-bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws and beverage stirrers, as well as plastic sticks used for balloons.

“This ambitious target may see the Irish Government re-considering introducing a Deposit Refund System (DRS), a system which rewards consumers with a small cash sum by returning plastic, glass and metal drinks containers.

“A total of 38 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 and are redeemable when the container is returned, usually through ‘reverse vending machines’.

“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. EU recycling targets are only set to increase and we need to seriously consider examples of countries, like Germany, that have their waste management firmly under control, so we can follow suit.”

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