Northern Ireland is considering the introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS) for bottles and cans, similar to one suggested in Scotland.
Environment minister Mark Durkan was responding to a feasibility study from Zero Waste Scotland on how such a scheme could play a role in reducing litter, complementing local authority recycling services and improving recyclate quality.
Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead originally backed the scheme in 2013 after a visit to Sweden, where DRSs have been in place since 1984. The system consists of imposing fees on beverage packaging that consumers can redeem at collection facilities.
Durkan said: “A deposit scheme, giving 10p back on bottles, operated here in the past, and I think there is the opportunity and appetite for the reintroduction of a similar scheme to reward people who return drink containers and in turn help the environment.
“I have been watching with interest the pilot DRS in Scotland, and am keen to see the outcome of their call for evidence of what the practicalities of such a scheme would be and what lessons we can learn here.
“This scheme could play a key role in reducing litter and improving recycling services. I have requested an options paper from my officials on the desirability and feasibility of a DRS for Northern Ireland.”