Around 1.9 billion drinks in bottles and cans are consumed in Ireland every year
A new scheme to encourage people to recycle their drinks bottles and cans is being launched today.
Around 1.9 billion drinks in bottles and cans are consumed in Ireland every year.
The Deposit Return Scheme works by charging anyone who buys a drink a small deposit for the plastic bottle or can container.
Customers get their money back when they return the container to a retailer or other collection point to be recycled.
Minister Ossian Smyth, who is responsible for the circular economy, said the scheme will pay for itself and each return will mean 15 cents back for the consumer for cans or bottles of up to 500ml and 25 cents above 500ml.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he explained how it will work.
"I think people understand what it's about. It's just the same as when you arrive at the supermarket, and you need a trolley and you put in a coin, and you put down a deposit and you get it back when you return the trolley," he said.
"When you return the bottle, you will get the refund back."
The minister said it is a deposit on a bottle and it can be returned to any shop, not just where you bought it.
Options on the return machine will include choosing to spend the money in the shop, receiving cash, or donating to charity.
Shops and retailers need to register for the scheme, which he said is cost neutral, adding that the shop will retain a small fee.
Mr Smyth said it is a scheme that pays for itself and everybody along the line who handles the goods has to be compensated for their work.
He said that despite people recycling already, 1.9 billion bottles and cans a year are being used in Ireland.
"We are not recycling enough to meet our EU targets. We've got a target for 2025 and one for 2030, and in order to do that, we believe that we need to give people an incentive to bring back the bottle or the can," the minister said.
"Many people are putting it into their green bin, but it's just not enough and a lot are ending up on the ground. So, there is a lot of litter.
"A benefit that's going to come out of this scheme is that people are not going to have a party and leave a lot of cans and bottles on the ground because they're going to be worth money."
He said he is "sure that there is going to be far less litter as a result".
There are some machines in operation already, he said, but the scheme will be operational within a year.
In relation to the coffee cup levy, Mr Smyth said the consultation has just ended. An information campaign will be launched and it will begin next April.