It is hoped a new plastic bottle return scheme can lift recycling rates over 90% in the coming years.

The plan, which would see people handed back a deposit for every plastic bottle they recycle, could be in place within months.

It comes after recycling organisation Repak dropped its opposition to the idea, which is included in the Programme for Government.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Cara Augustenborg, Fellow in Environmental policy at UCD, said similar schemes are already in place in 40 countries around the world and 21 of the United States.

“It would mean that you pay a deposit of somewhere between 8c to 22c when you purchase a beverage with a plastic bottle,” she said.

 

“Then you would be able to return that bottle somewhere, either through a vending machine or a bring back centre and get your money back.”

She said the plan will aim to bring Ireland in line with the new EU Single-Use Plastics and Circular Economy packages and lift plastic bottle recycling form 70% to above 90%.

A pilot programme has been running in County Monaghan in recent months.

“They refunded people 10c on any bottle they brought back,” she said.

“They didn’t have the deposit system in place because that would need to be national but even in the first two months, 50,000 bottles were collected in the first two months.

“We have seen again and again that people like these schemes. It is a great incentive to get people recycling more. It is very straightforward and we know that it works in other countries – it has brought recycling rates in places like Norway up to 95%.”

She said the main concerns with the scheme will come from curb side waste collectors who will lose a revenue stream from the cans and bottles people are currently putting in the green bin.

Source: newstalk.com

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