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Ireland confident over DRS despite confusion | MRW

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One-third of the Republic of Ireland’s citizens are unclear about how their new deposit return scheme (DRS) will operate, although ministers are confident it will work.

Campaign group Every Can Counts said 29% of those it surveyed are unsure about the process but 69% thought it would encourage them to recycle.

Chris Latham-Warde, programme manager at Every Can Counts, said people’s concerns were valid.

“With the DRS having only just launched in the Republic of Ireland, it is not surprising to see people harbouring some uncertainty towards the details of the scheme and how they can get their refundable deposit back,” he said.

Ireland’s scheme went live last Thursday (1 February), with refundable deposits of 15 cents (12p) on drink containers sized 150ml to 500ml and 25 cents (21p) on those between 500ml and three litres.

Minister for communications and the circular economy Ossian Smyth said the experience of 40 other countries showed that DRSs work. He said the drinks industry had shown leadership “in establishing a complex new system in a relatively short time frame” and that smaller businesses would be supported.

The scheme is operated by Deposit Return Scheme Ireland, trading as Re-turn, which was established by beverage producers and retailers to fulfil their obligations under the Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations 2021.

The UK’s DRS remains delayed until at least 25 October, with retailers continuing to lobby against current plans. Following late intervention from Westminster to block Scotland’s scheme last year, Circularity Scotland – the Scottish equivalent of Re-turn – fell into administration.

Other concerns highlighted in the Every Can Counts survey were a lack of space to store uncrushed drink containers (36%), the deposit being too low (22%) and a lack of time to make returns (both 17%).

Every Can Counts is a partnership formed between can manufacturers, drinks producers and the recycling industry, seeking a 100% recycling rate for drink cans.

Manufacturer Tomra has provided Ireland’s reverse vending machine infrastructure and advised retailers on requirements. Truls Haug, head of Tomra Collection United Kingdom & Ireland, said: “[The] launch is a milestone for the country in transforming waste management to reduce litter and maximise the quantity and quality of materials collected for recycling.”

Sensoneo has provided the IT system (pictured) that acts as the central infrastructure for the scheme, saying its end-to-end software would gather data from all sources and enable seamless integration between stakeholders within the process chain.

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