Southern Star Ltd. logo

New deposit return scheme is leading to littering, says Cllr

March 15th, 2024 3:45 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

New deposit return scheme is leading to littering, says Cllr Image
Cork County Council says it has nothing to do with the desposit return scheme.

Share this article

THE new deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and cans is already leading to littering in some cases, while smaller retail outlets are unable to take part in the scheme, a meeting of the local authority heard last week.

Cllr Gobnait Moynihan (FF) raised a motion asking Cork County Council to discuss their plans regarding the new Deposit Return Scheme.

She pointed out that the scheme isn’t available for smaller retail outlets, and called for a fairer playing field for all retailers.

‘People are ending up going to large supermarkets to avail of the service, and I feel there is a need to balance it out,’ said Cllr Moynihan.

‘I also want Cork County Council to be part of it and these reverse vending machines should be put in all the Council bring sites, so as not to change the pattern of people who bring their recyclables there.’

Her colleague, Cllr Audrey Buckley, said she had been excited about the scheme but pointed out that glass bottles aren’t being recycled.

‘I don’t understand why Cork County Council can’t accept them in our own recycling centre. In one instance recently I watched a man with two bags of bottles and cans leave them at the machine, because they didn’t have the logo on them,’ said Cllr Buckley.

Cllr Sean O’Donovan (FF) pointed out that they only had a meeting with a representative from the Deposit Return Scheme last week.

‘We expressed our disappointment about not being informed sooner and this scheme was up and running before we got this presentation. They said the delay was with Cork County Council,’ said Cllr O’Donovan.

Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) described the new scheme as ‘another kick to the smaller retail businesses.’

‘It should be thought out a little more, it’s not working right,’ said Cllr Carroll.

Cllr Chris Heinhold (SD) agreed that the key failure was communication from those behind the scheme, and said larger retail outlets will now have an advantage over smaller outlets.

Meanwhile, Cllr Alan O’Connor (GP) said the goal of the scheme is to increase recycling, but said that it’s ‘early days yet’ with lots to be worked out including some ‘bugs.’

‘It will become normal practice in the future and if you leave bottles after you outside these machines, then that’s littering,’ said Cllr O’Connor, who added that the potential role of the local authority is important too.

Fermoy-based FG Councillor Noel McCarthy, who runs an off-licence, said the new scheme was ‘only half thought out’ and that it’s another tax which is ‘driving people mad.’

‘It’s causing confusion to both staff and customers as some of the bottles don’t have the necessary bar code to avail of the refund. I signed up my shop for it but it’s not big enough to host one. All we are doing is hunting customers back to the bigger shops,’ said Cllr McCarthy.

In a written reply, director of services Louis Duffy said Cork County Council does not have a responsibility to provide or support any part of the service.

‘However, we have engaged with the regional waste management office in Limerick in respect of issues that may arise in the deployment of the service such as the provision for collection of containers that are rejected by the machines and also in regard to disabled persons’ access,’ he said.

He added that the Council executive will continue to monitor the deployment of the service and said that the local authority sector has launched a new national waste management plan for a circular economy which aims to reduce the quantity of waste going to disposal and promote the waste hierarchy and the circular economy.

Tags used in this article

Share this article