Deposit return scheme coming back to Northern Ireland to encourage recycling of single use drink containers
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Starting in 2025, a deposit return scheme is planned for many drink containers in order to increase recycling and decrease litter.
A small refundable deposit will be placed on single-use drinks containers to encourage people to recycle drinks bottles and cans and redeem their deposits.
The scheme is intended to apply to single-use drinks containers made from containers made from plastic, steel, and aluminium.
However, unlike years gone by, the scheme will not apply to glass - except in Wales and Scotland.
During consultation, concerns were raised by industry figures about the increased cost of handling comparatively heavy glass and the complexity of equipment needed to manage it.
However, glass recycling targets will still be covered by the Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging scheme, which will place targets on producers in relation to recycling the material.
DAERA says that NI consumers go through an estimated 420 million plastic drinks bottles and 90 million drinks cans every year, many of which are littered or condemned to landfill.
It also reports that similar deposit schemes in Germany, Finland, and Norway have resulted in recycling rates for drinks containers of over 90%, compared to the current UK rate of 70%.
But Greenpeace said after “five years of dithering” the UK Government had “bottled it and excluded glass from the scheme”
Spokesperson Megan Randles said: “To be honest, it reeks of corporate lobbying – from the kind of companies who talk big on social responsibility, but do everything they can to push the problems they create onto others."
However, Dave Dalton, of British Glass, said it was “absolutely right” not to include glass bottles.
Mr Dalton said that by using “consistent kerbside collections” alongside a campaign to promote a “better culture of recycling, we can meet the glass industry’s recycling rate target of 90% by 2030”.