A new deposit return scheme for bottles that will reward recyclers with coupons or cash, has been welcomed by a Cork County Councillor who has long campaigned for the measure.
Under the scheme, to be introduced in early 2024, anyone who buys a drink will pay 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. The deposit is set to be 15 cents for cans or bottles of up to 500ml, and 25 cents above 500ml.
Councillor Audrey Buckley said the plan is long overdue. “I’ve been trying to get it with Tidy Towns for the last ten years,” she said. Living near the Church View beach, the drinks cans and bottles in the summer time have to be collected by youth groups such as the Scouts.
The bottle return scheme works hand-in-hand with those efforts, said Cllr Buckley. “You have community groups collecting cans to get the return on it, rather than seeing the litter going out to the sea.” About five months ago, a ‘reverse vending’ machine that accepts cans and bottles, was installed in a Centra in Crosshaven. “It is being used, by the Scouts and the schools. Unfortunately, there’s no return from the machine yet because they were waiting for the implementation of the whole government guidelines, which have been very slow in coming.” Centra instead gives treats to the children for the time being.
“I am delighted to see this coming. I wish it was sooner,” said Cllr Buckley, who has met with Cork County Council on the issue. In Germany, it is common practise for members of the public to collect bottles from the streets, for money. “We need to change the way we think. I am very frustrated we didn’t have this ten years ago,” added Cllr Buckley.