Bank of Ireland has been announced as the sole finance partner of Re-turn, Ireland’s new national deposit return scheme, which was established to help Ireland achieve EU recycling targets for the estimated two billion bottles and cans of drinks that are consumed here each year.
Under the EU’s directive on single-use plastics, Ireland must ensure the separate collection of 77% of plastic beverage bottles placed on the market by 2025 – rising to 90% in 2029.
Bank of Ireland will provide €27.5 million in financing for the development and roll-out of the scheme, which will go live for consumers in February 2024. Re-turn’s preparations for the launch are well under way, with strong support and collaboration from key stakeholders. To date, over 90% of producers and over 2,500 stores have already registered with the scheme.
The introduction of the deposit return scheme is a simple solution to achieving higher collection rates for drink containers. More than 40 countries and regions have successfully introduced this type of scheme, with recycling rates exceeding 90% in many countries.
The minister of state with responsibility for communications and the circular economy, Ossian Smyth TD, said, “The introduction of a national deposit return scheme has been a major undertaking for the beverage industry in Ireland. Re-turn, its members and its partners have shown great commitment and leadership in coming together to develop this exciting new circular initiative and have made significant progress in preparing for the launch of this scheme in February next year.”
Nikki Canavan, head of origination and sustainability at Bank of Ireland, corporate and markets, said, “The deposit return scheme will help reduce single-use plastics, help Ireland meet EU targets, and move towards a circular economy, where valuable resources are reused or recycled as much as possible.
“Supporting the green transition is a really key part of Bank of Ireland’s sustainability strategy, so we are thrilled to play a role in helping Re-turn deliver this important scheme that will benefit households and communities across the country. This transaction highlights Bank of Ireland’s commitment to providing meaningful debt financing in support of important sustainability-focused initiatives like Re-turn.
“We are also engaging with leading retail brands to support the roll-out of reverse vending machines across their extensive store networks nationwide. We will continue to work proactively with the retail sector to promote the successful implementation of the deposit return scheme.”
Séamus Clancy, interim chief executive of Re-turn, said, “We are delighted to announce Bank of Ireland as our finance partner in such a significant circular-economy project. The establishment of Re-turn as a national deposit return scheme and our progress in recent months is testament to the support and collaboration of producers, retailers, and key stakeholders alike.
“We are on schedule, with over 90% of producers registered, and an estimated 2,500 stores have completed Phase One of registration with the scheme.
“On 1 February 2024, we will launch to the Irish consumer and look forward to providing a cost-effective, efficient and convenient deposit return scheme that not only benefits the environment, but also inspires and encourages us to value and reuse our resources in the best way possible.”
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