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Deposit Return Scheme

Many shops and supermarkets in Ireland introduced a Deposit Return Scheme in February 2024.

The Deposit Return Scheme will boost the recycling rate for drinks containers by charging a small, refundable deposit for each plastic bottle or can.  From February 1st, 2024, empty and undamaged bottles or cans with the Re-turn logo can be returned to a participating store, and customers will be issued a voucher that can either be used for a cash refund of the deposit or towards their shopping at the store.

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Deposit Return Scheme FAQs

Retailers may opt for either manual return or for automatic collection, through Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs). Retailers have the choice of whether they opt for a reverse vending machine or not. It is not compulsory for any retailer to have a reverse vending machine.

To date, over 60% of plastic bottles and cans are being collected for recycling through green bins, which means that over 30% are not collected, leading to increased littering.

By placing a value on the drinks containers, we are incentivising consumers to return their bottles and cans in order to get their deposit back and discourage littering. The Deposit Return Scheme is a circular economy initiative that aims to create a closed loop recycling system guaranteeing the material is returned and recycled into new drinks containers.

In addition, with the separate collection of drinks containers, there is no cross contamination and a higher quality of recyclate is collected, which is more efficient.

Drinks purchased before 1 February, 2024 are not included in the Deposit Return Scheme but should still be recycled.

From 1 February, 2024, when you purchase an ‘in scope’ drinks container, you will be charged a small deposit in addition to the purchase price of the drink. The bottle or container will have the Deposit Return Scheme log and barcode on it's label.  This deposit will be fully refunded when you return your empty, undamaged drinks container.

When you buy a drink featuring the Re-turn logo, you will be charged a small deposit  in addition to the price of the drink. The drinks containers included in the scheme are PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150mls and 3 litres. A deposit of 15c will apply to containers from 150ml to 500ml inclusive and a deposit of 25c for containers over 500mls to 3 litres inclusive.

When you purchase a drink featuring the Re-turn logo and pay your deposit fee, you will get a full refund on returning the empty, undamaged container to any retail outlet that sells drinks with the Re-turn logo.

Consumers may return containers to a retailer that takes them back over the counter (manual), or through the use of a a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM). If returning to an RVM, you must insert all Re-turn drinks containers as instructed and you will then be issued with a voucher which may be spent in the shop or redeemed for cash at the till.

*It is important to note that vouchers issued from an RVM must be redeemed at the same retail outlet.

All Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) will have clear instructions on how drinks containers featuring the Re-turn logo are to be inserted into the machine. When containers are inserted, the machine reads the containers, confirms they are part of the scheme, and then issues a voucher for the amount of containers returned. Consumers may then present this voucher at the till for full refund or to be used against a store purchase.

*It is important to note that vouchers issued from an RVM must be redeemed at the same retail outlet.

PET plastic drinks containers, steel and aluminum cans between 150ml and 3 litres that show the Re-turn logo are accepted. They will need to be empty, undamaged and the barcode needs to be clearly legible. Remember, all drink containers included in the scheme will feature the Re-turn logo.

Not all drinks containers are eligible for Deposit Return. No dairy products are included in the Scheme. Eg. Milk, yogurt drinks. These containers will  not have a Re-turn logo, but should still be recycled.

You can return your empty, undamaged plastic bottle with or without the lid. We recommend returning bottles with caps, because this will ensure that the cap is recycled, too. Also, if the bottle cap is still on, it is easier to preserve the shape of the bottle.

Currently, Ireland has a recycling rate of over 80% for glass and is surpassing recycling targets for this material. As a result, there are no plans to include glass in the scheme but this may change in the future.

All containers collected will be sent for recycling. The Deposit Return Scheme focuses on maximising the volume and quality of material collected for recycling.

DRSI CLG, trading as Re-turn, is a new company limited by guarantee and was established by beverage producers and retailers in order to fulfil their obligations under the Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations 2021.

The new Scheme brings together all parties involved in the manufacture, selling and consumption of beverages and has proved very successful internationally in increasing collection rates.