As Ireland steps up the fight against climate breakdown, now is the time to trial a plastic bottle rebate scheme, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Dublin North West TD, Noel Rock, said:

“Deposit return schemes for plastic bottles work very well on the continent but the idea has been mooted and stalled several times here in Ireland and is now under review again.

“As a society we are becoming increasingly aware of the threat posed by plastic waste to the environment, and particularly to our oceans and wildlife.

“The urgency needed at this juncture cannot be understated.

“Trialling a plastic bottle rebate scheme, drawing on the best examples of international best practices, is a way to move this idea forward and iron out any problems in real time.

“Such a scheme would fit in with the ambitious targets set out in the Government’s recently published Climate Action Plan.

“Any scheme would need to put an onus on retailers and producers of plastic waste. One idea is so-called ‘reversible vending machines’, which have been trialled in supermarkets in the UK. This is an interesting idea as it makes returning bottles to collect your deposit something that simply becomes part of your shopping routine.

“There are various models for deposit return schemes. In Denmark for example, drinks in non-reusable containers are sold with a deposit rate of €0.20 for plastic bottles that are 500mls – which would be the standard soft-drink size and €0.40 for plastic bottles over 1 litre. The Denmark scheme also encompasses drinks cans.

“I believe this is a good model for Ireland to look at. A European Parliament report noted that within three years a recycling rate of 84pc for single-use drinks packaging was achieved using the deposit and return (DRS) model.[1] Denmark also primarily uses reversible vending machines, with smaller shops also able to collect returned bottles.

“Dublin also already has a significant network of bring centres around the city where people can bring food waste, glass bottles and items for recycling.

“Rebate schemes such as this can reduce plastic waste going to landfill by increasing recycling rates. They also combat litter, which is something that many communities in Dublin would welcome warmly.

“While Ireland has a good rate of recycling among residents overall, there is a concern over whether households are recycling correctly. A plastic bottle rebate scheme would also be a chance to educate people to a greater extent on what is recyclable.

“A smaller-scale DRS for plastic bottles and containers should be trialled in North Dublin. A recent IBAL survey identified a disappointing result for Ballymun, which is now considered a litter blackspot,” he concluded.