Re-turn Appoints Ciaran Foley as CEO to lead Ireland’s new Deposit Return Scheme

Dublin, November 23, 2023: 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 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.

Ciaran, formerly the Managing Director of DHL Ireland, will lead the implementation and integration of the Deposit Return Scheme in Ireland. He will be responsible for the strategic organisation development of the Scheme and will oversee the legal obligations of members, business expansion, cost control, and effective government and industry stakeholder communication.

As CEO, he will lead a core team of 30 and work closely with the committed Board of Directors in place that includes Tony Keohane as Chair.

On Foley’s appointment, Tony Keohane, Chair of DRS Ireland, said, “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ciaran Foley as the CEO of Re-turn. The role of Re-turn CEO presents a remarkable opportunity to make a substantial impact on the future success of the Circular Economy in Ireland. His knowledge in supply chain management and logistics across multiple sectors will be key to ensuring the successful roll-out of the Deposit Return Scheme across the country.”

Ciaran has spent over three decades in senior leadership roles. As Managing Director of DHL Supply Chain Ireland, he led an organisation of almost 1000 employees providing logistical solutions for customers across multiple sectors. He established the DHL Supply Chain business as the leader in sustainability for logistics solutions in Ireland and secured an €80m investment for the long-term supply of biomethane to 100% decarbonise DHL’s transport business.

As Supply Chain Director of Tesco Ireland, he oversaw the best-in-class operations across all elements of supply chain and distribution within the company whilst taking on responsibilities for essential KPIs in retail, including waste and shrinkage.

He is also Non-Executive Director at FoodCloud Ireland, the charity that strives to reduce food waste in Ireland and internationally through innovative IT solutions that make excess food from retail outlets and providers available to charities.

Commenting on his appointment to CEO of Re-turn, Ciaran Foley said, “I am honoured to be at the helm of such a crucial circular economy initiative. By introducing a deposit return scheme, Ireland is joining a global success story which is thriving in 40+ regions worldwide, including thirteen countries
in Europe.” “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.

Ireland’s Deposit and Return scheme, a circular initiative, will launch on February 1st, 2024. This initiative is an integral part of the program for government, aligning with the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, and aims to meet the EU collection and recycling targets outlined in the SingleUse Plastics Directive. Under the Single Use Plastics Directive, Ireland must ensure the separate collection of 77% of plastic beverage bottles placed on the market by 2025, rising to 90% by 2030. The Deposit and Return scheme has been introduced to ensure Ireland can reach these targets.

Once live on 1 February, consumers will give a fully refundable deposit when purchasing bottles and cans with the Re-turn logo ranging from 15 cents to 25 cents, depending on size – 15c will apply to containers 500mls or less and a deposit of 25c for each container from 500ml to 3 litres. They receive it back when they return the bottle or can to a designated return point. Return points, either manual or Reverse Vending Machines, will be located in the majority of retailers where bottles and cans are purchased.