7th June 2021 | Environment, Press Releases

Minister Eamon Ryan launches the Return for Change recycling campaign that aims for ambitious collection rates of 90% within two years


Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD today (7th June) launches the Return for Change campaign by environmental charity VOICE.

As part of the Programme for Government the Green Party secured government commitment to introduce a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) for plastic and aluminium cans. Through public engagement, the Return for Change campaign intends to show how a high-performing DRS will benefit communities and the environment.

Minister Ryan commented at the launch;

“I welcome today’s launch of the Return for Change campaign by VOICE. If we are to get the benefits of a circular economy we need to adapt our approach to how we use and manage our resources. We must strive to keep resources in circulation for as long as possible and the introduction of a DRS is a first step in this. It will also help to reduce litter and will ensure that we meet the EU targets which are coming down the tracks. This campaign by VOICE will demonstrate how this scheme will work on the ground within communities, laying the ground work for the introduction of the scheme by Government in 2022.”

Chief Coordinator of Voice, Mindy O’Brien stated;

“Ireland has already had a DRS in the past. Many of us can remember returning glass bottles to shops and getting some small change in return. It worked before because it was simple and made sense. It is still simple and it still makes sense – it will work again. The plastic bottles and aluminium cans that our DRS will collect for recycling are valuable materials and we are aiming for collection rates of 90% within two years.”

Ahead of the launch today, three return points were set up along Howth promenade for the bank holiday weekend, to collect empty PET plastic bottles and aluminium cans. Every empty bottle and can returned to the designated station will be counted, collected and sent for recycling. In return local businesses have collaborated to donate funds to local clubs, such as Beann Eadair GAA.

Cllr Claire Byrne, also welcoming the launch today stated;

“As we enter into an outdoor summer it is already clear to see some of the challenges outdoor socialising presents. It is critical that we start to introduce new initiatives like  DRS which can play a key role in the reduction of littering of beverage containers and increasing recycling rates. Segregated recycling and waste management is something I’ve long advocated for within my role as Councillor in Dublin City Council and I look forward to seeing the roll out of this scheme across the city and the rest of the country.”