A Happy New Year, one and all. Welcome to the very last DRS-free year in Ireland! Not that it will exactly be without DRS. We at VOICE will continue our efforts to raise awareness about the upcoming Scheme throughout the year. Much like 2022, expect to see us with our Return for Change trailer for another tour around the country (if interested, please give us a shout). We will also be developing educational resources so that, from September, we can begin engaging with schools, community groups and colleges. As always, we’ll be keeping the website and VOICE’s social channels up to date so keep an eye out.
An item which caught our eye recently was the latest litter survey by IBAL (Irish Businesses Against Litter). They have been commissioning An Taisce to carry out litter surveys for a number of years in order to assess the cleanliness of towns and counties throughout Ireland. Whilst noting that three quarters of the 40 cities and towns surveyed were clean (compared to just over half this time last year), they also noted that the prevalence of plastic bottles and cans in the study strengthens the case for the DRS.
It should be noted that retail outlets, big and small, will be at the forefront of the DRS when it begins next year. That there will be concerns on their part about this and how it will impact upon them is to be expected. As always, communication is key. Their representative bodies will be able to point to the continent, where retailers enjoy the benefit of the DRS through increased footfall and associated profits, as costumers often spend their recouped deposits in the shop that they receive them from.
Furthermore, and as so plainly highlighted in the latest IBAL report, the DRS will see a dramatic reduction in the volume of waste currently constituted by plastic bottles and cans. Cleaner cities and towns benefit customers and businesses. As IBAL’s Conor Horgan noted, “Cleanliness is a virtuous circle: clean streets beget clean streets, inspiring a pride and consciousness of the environment. Based on this data the [DRS] is sorely needed and stands to rid our streets of a significant amount of litter. The same applies to the proposed coffee cup levy”.
I think we can leave the conversation concerning the so-called latte levy for another VOICE campaign; the DRS is more than enough for this one to handle, thank you very much! Joking aside, it is clear that business leaders are plainly aware of the advantages which will accrue for retailers once the DRS begins in earnest and we applaud IBAL for highlighting this in their report. For any retailers reading this, please be sure to register through the www.re-turn.ie website. No point in leaving it until the last minute!