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Retailers in Galway get ready for deposit scheme on bottles and cans


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Retailers in Galway get ready for deposit scheme on bottles and cans Retailers in Galway get ready for deposit scheme on bottles and cans

Some Galway retailers have started to source and install reverse vending machines ahead of the roll-out of the Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans next year.

From February 2024, customers who buy drinks in plastic bottles or aluminium cans will be charged a small deposit for the container it comes in.

It will be 15 cent for containers of 500ml or less, and 25c for containers above 500ml.

Customers get this deposit back when they return the empty container to the retailer, or other collection point to be recycled.

Retailers will play a vital role in the scheme, according to the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.

They will be obliged to charge a deposit for every drink sold, take back the empty drinks containers and refund the deposit to the customer.

The Department said retailers have two options when offering take-back services. They can choose manual collection, storing returned containers in bags or similar, or they can invest in automated collection through reverse vending machines (RVMs), which can be purchased or leased.

These RVMs are exempt from planning and are already appearing at some supermarkets throughout Galway, including Aldi and Lidl.

It’s understood a number of other Galway retailers have also ordered RVMs in anticipation of the scheme roll-out.

A Department of Environment, Climate and Communications spokesperson confirmed all retailers will receive a handling fee for participating.

The fees are intended to offset the cost of collection infrastructure, retail floor space, staff costs and security.

There will be other supports to help small retailers, including exemptions from take-back services and financial supports to install RVMs.

The Department said that drinks containers are typically consumed ‘on the go’ and are often thrown out into general waste or littered rather than recycled.

“A national Deposit Return Scheme is being introduced to encourage more people to recycle bottles and cans,” a spokesperson said.

Almost two billion drinks bottles and cans are consumed every year in Ireland. Minister Ossian Smith said this scheme will help meet EU recycling targets.

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