Why Ireland Has To Introduce A Deposit System For Our Big Bags Of Cans (And Bottles)
We just can't be trusted
Following on from the gloriously sunny weekend we just had in Dublin were shocking photographs this morning that showed the absolute state of areas in town where people had been enjoying themselves - but never bothered to clean up behind them when they went on their merry way.
Which made us think, should a bottle deposit system be introduced in Ireland?
People over the age of 40 will remember the old days of returning your lemonade bottle to the shop and getting a few pence back from it, meaning that people were less likely to just throw their empties bottles on the side of the street.
Ireland currently throws away huge amounts of recyclable waste, including aluminium cans, glass and plastic bottles.
Some supporters of a deposit-refund plan include the Green Party, who have previously pushed for a change from our throw-away mind frame when it comes to bottles and cans, instead emphasising the benefits seen by many northern European countries who use a deposit and return system.
Germany for example, have a 98,5% success rate of refillable bottles being returned by consumers – the highest in the world.
A party spokesman previously told TheJournal.ie that their plan is based on a Dutch system.
"The model we looked most closely at is how the deposit scheme works in the Netherlands. Deposit schemes are primarily aimed at glass bottles, as they don’t biodegrade, are unsuited to incineration, and are easily recycled, but we would propose examining how plastics could also be included in such a scheme.
"There would be a nominal charge of 5 or 10 cent on each glass/plastic bottle, paid for at the point of sale."
People would then use automated machines, placed at recycling centres, supermarkets, and off licences that would refund the fee when bottles or cans are returned for recycling.
The machines give you a receipt once all recycling has been sorted which you can then exchange for cash.
In Holland, for example, people pay a deposit of 25c per large soft drink bottle which is then returned once it is recycled, and €1.50 per crate of beer.
Voice Ireland, an environmental charity, recently released a report on how best to implement a deposit-refund system here, and said that glass bottles can take up to 1 million years to decompose, plastic beverage bottles take 450 years to decompose, and aluminium cans take 200 years to decompose.
On the other hand, an aluminium container can be recycled into a new can in as little as 60 days.
Ireland is throwing away 800 million plastic bottles every year, spending €38 million annually disposing of plastic bottles alone.
The issue was also raised today on Reddit, with people debating on whether a deposit scheme is needed for Ireland's bottles and cans.
One commenter said "for the life of me I don't understand why its not in place in Ireland. Pay a deposit on a case and when you bring the empties back to the supermarket you put them in a machine that gives you a receipt that you can claim the cash on or they take it off the cost of the shopping at the till.
"There's no excuse for leaving the place in such a state. Its just selfishness and ignorance."
'The Waste Reduction Bill 2017'
This environmental bill was launched recently by the Green Party, which aims to introduce the deposit-refund system at a cost of 10c refund per bottle/can.
The Department of the Environment however, has stated previously that the official stance is that the existing Repak recycling system is sufficient, and that they believe the admin costs of a deposit-refund system to be too high.
Profit would be made however, through abandoned deposits, environmental benefits and the reduced cost of waste disposal, litter clean-up, and the kerbside recycling.
Nothing will change if the public doesn't push for this, so get involved and make your voice heard.
Oh, and clean up all your shit after a sesh in town please? It only takes a minute.
What do you think should be done to tackle the waste problem? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!