Include glass bottles in deposit scheme

 

Sir, – The Government is set to announce the final design of Ireland’s deposit return system (DRS) for drinks containers. The DRS sees a deposit added when a drinks product is purchased which is refunded when the packaging is returned.

A Voice Ireland poll backed by Friends of the Earth Ireland revealed last year that almost nine out of 10 people want a DRS that is as comprehensive as possible. This means a scheme encompassing glass bottles, metal cans, plastic drinks bottles, coffee cups, and drink cartons and pouches. Some 78 per cent want a variable deposit in which a higher deposit is levied on large plastic bottles and a smaller fee on more recyclable alternatives.

Incredibly, glass bottles are set to be excluded from the scheme due to lobbying by industry.

This is despite the fact that recycling rates for glass in Ireland reduced from 86 to 78 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

Glass recycling rates are now substantially lower than other formats that have been included. Excluding glass, which is the most carbon-intensive of all beverage packaging, would be a catastrophic mistake and would fly in the face of a wealth of evidence and public opinion. Some 96 per cent of the world’s deposit return systems cover glass bottles, including best-in-class schemes in Denmark and Finland.

By excluding glass, Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan risks pushing through a scheme that is totally inadequate.

Ireland is relying on him to make the right decision from the beginning. – Yours, etc,

DARREN O’ROURKE TD,

PAUL MURPHY TD,

THOMAS GOULD TD,

PAUL DONNELLY TD,

DAVID CULLINANE TD,

JOAN COLLINS TD,

Senator IVANA BACIK,

Senator PAUL GAVAN,

Senator GERARD

CRAUGHWELL,

Senator SHARON

KEOGAN,

Senator DAVID NORRIS,

Leinster House,

Dublin 2.