The Irish Petrol Retailers Association are today making a last ditch effort calling for a delay to the launch
on the Deposit Re-Turn Scheme [DRS]. Many may ask what is the DRS and don’t yet realise how it will
affect them despite a launch date of 1st February 2024.
The very recently launched ads on the TV don’t seem to full convey the impact the scheme may have on
consumers’ pockets and on small independent retailers. Many of the answers are unknown even to
retailers who are part of the scheme. From 1st February the public will pay a deposit on all plastic bottles
and both aluminium and steel cans between 150mls and 3 litres. The deposit ranges from 15c up to 25c
per container. The refund you receive for this container is provided in the form of a voucher for the shop
where you can claim your credit in store or cash return from the store.
While the IPRA isn’t against the scheme, we do believe that similar to the pause taken in Scotland
last year, more work needs to be done to ensure it runs smoothly and fairly for all retailers and a
delay now would benefit the scheme in the long run.
We believe consumers need more time to get themselves ready; realising the price they pay at the till will
increase (until they claim their refund), find another bin for their containers, train themselves and their
household members up on rinsing and saving containers, and to give themselves time to work out where
their closest reverse vending machine is located.
While multinational retailers will have been prepping for this for some time and many have seen how it
works in other countries, for many independent Irish owned retailers the scheme is new and
communication from Re-Turn has been allegedly poor, particularly when it comes to importing any
product from outside Ireland. There are also issues regarding till and accounting software packages
accounting for these deposits and whether Revenue will have any additional requirements is yet to be
One IPRA forecourt retailer has informed us that “Not only will it affect small businesses, but it will also
make the cost of alcohol on some lines anti-competitive. Some shops with large volumes can access brands at a discounted price, while others are tied to stock that’s only available to their shop model. Also having to direct your customer to the nearest Re-Turn point be that at your local multinational supermarket or some other location will lead to loss of business and potentially job losses”.
For border counties there are also concerns customers will cross the border to buy soft drinks and alcohol where the deposit won’t be required.
Given all the issues set out above (and we are sure there are more which will become apparent over time) and in light of the impending deadline, the IPRA call on Government to do the sensible thing and to delay the launch of the Scheme until it can be reviewed properly and until all stakeholders can meet and work through the many uncertainties involved in such a Scheme.