Skip to main content

Small shops must be supported to participate in Deposit Return Scheme – Conway

2nd February 2024 - Senator Martin Conway

Small and independent shops who wish to participate in the Deposit Return Scheme should be incentivised to do so by Government, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Martin Conway said that the scheme, which started yesterday, is set to impact on litter on streets and pavements, as well as combatting single use plastics, but that all retailers should be encouraged to be a participating outlet where customers can bring back their empty bottles and cans.

“There are many small shops around the country who are keen to play their part in delivering on recycling targets,” Senator Conway said. “We know that 84% of Irish people are positive about this scheme, which bodes well for its success, but just as crucial to its success is getting a critical mass of retailers participating.

“As it stands, retailers will receive a handling fee for each container they take back. Handling fees are intended to offset the cost of collection infrastructure, retail floor space, staff costs and security.

“While this will undoubtedly assist retailers, it does not go far enough for the smaller retailers. The cost of the reverse vending machines is significant and may prove a prohibitive step for some shops who would like to offer this service to customers but cannot afford to.

“I would like to see the cost of supply and installation of the machines covered definitively for businesses, for example under the Accelerated Capital Allowance Scheme, however despite best efforts, this was not included in Budget 2024.

“I understand that Minister Neale Richmond is continuing to advocate for retailers to be supported with these costs, both for their own sake but also for their customers who want to take part in this Scheme.

“Businesses will soon be availing of the €257m Increased Cost of Business (ICOB) grant, which was provided for by Government in the 2024 Budget.

“With payments due in the first quarter of 2024, businesses who pay up to €30,000 in commercial rates will receive a cash injection of up to €5,000.

“While this is very welcome, further supports are needed to help retailers with the costs associated with the Deposit Return Scheme.

“A guaranteed financial pathway to incentivise smaller retailers to participate in the Deposit Return Scheme must be provided for if we are to get to our target of a 90% rate of recycling our bottles. We recycle just 23% of our plastic bottles now – but this week marks a new chapter, and every measure must be put in place to allow shops and consumers to maximise their combined efforts.”

Stay Up To Date With Fine Gael