Ciaran Foley to lead Ireland’s new Deposit Return Scheme at Re-turn

The not-for-profit organisation’s Deposit Return Scheme is set to launch on 1 February 2024

Foley will lead a core team of 30 and work closely with the committed board of directors

Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme, operated by not-for-profit organisation Re-turn, has appointed Ciaran Foley as chief executive officer.

Re-turn is the not-for-profit organisation appointed by the government as system administrator for Ireland’s new Deposit Return Scheme, which starts on 1 February 2024. It is dedicated to supporting and assisting retailers, producers, and consumers in managing the transition to a Deposit Return Scheme smoothly and effectively.

The scheme ensures separate collection of 77% of plastic beverage bottles by 2025 and 90% by 2030. Consumers pay a refundable deposit (15-25 cents, based on size) for items with the Re-turn logo, receiving it back upon returning the container to designated points, available in most retailers.

Foley, the former managing director of DHL Ireland, takes the reins for implementing the Deposit Return Scheme in Ireland. In his role as chief executive officer, he will lead a 30-member team, focusing on strategic organisational development, legal compliance, business expansion, cost control, and effective communication with government and industry stakeholders. With over three decades of leadership experience, Foley’s background includes leading DHL Supply Chain Ireland and optimising operations as Tesco Ireland’s supply chain director. He also serves as a non-executive director at FoodCloud Ireland, focusing on reducing food waste through innovative solutions

Tony Keohane, chair, Re-turn, said: “Ciaran’s knowledge and experience in supply chain management and his commitment to sustainability are key to ensuring this significant circular economy initiative is successfully launched on 1 February 2024.”

Ciaran Foley, chief executive officer, Re-turn, said, “A Deposit Return Scheme is a circular economy game-changer for Ireland, shifting from ‘take, make, dispose’ to returning valuable materials and maximising their use – creating a circular system for high-value plastics and cans. Its introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme is hugely beneficial to our environmental goals and is a critical element of the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy to achieve EU targets. The Scheme is a practical environmental initiative that will increase recycling rates, reduce litter, lower emissions, prevent waste, and relieve pressure on our natural resources.”

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