2 February 2024
by Sarah Morgan

Ireland launches Deposit Return Scheme

The Deposit Return Scheme is being rolled out in Ireland by the Minister of State for Communications and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth.

© Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It is a nationwide money-back scheme for plastic drinks bottles and aluminium cans, aimed at incentivising people to return used drinks containers for recycling.

In addition to boosting recycling rates, the Deposit Return Scheme aims to reduce the number of bottles and cans being littered or sent to landfill.

From 1 February 2024, when you buy a drink in a plastic bottle or aluminium can with the Re-turn logo in Ireland, you will pay a small deposit in addition to the price of the drink.

When you return your empty, undamaged drinks container to any participating retail outlet, you get your deposit back in full.

A deposit of 15 cents will apply to containers from 150ml to 500mls, while a deposit of 25 cents will apply to containers between 500ml and 3 litres.

Re-turn is overseeing the roll-out of the Deposit Return Scheme and foresees more than 2,000 return points being ready to accept returns and refund deposits from its launch.

Larger retailers and some smaller retailers have installed Reverse Vending Machines, or RVMs, at their premises to automate the deposit return process. Nearly 200 smaller retailers will operate the scheme on a manual, over-the-counter basis.

The scheme is operated by Deposit Return Scheme Ireland (DRSI) CLG, trading as Re-turn, who the Minister Ossian Smyth appointed in July 2022.

DRSI CLG was established by beverage producers and retailers to fulfil their obligations under the Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations 2021.

The Deposit Return Scheme is a key commitment of the Programme for Government 2020.

Welcoming the launch of the new scheme, Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth, said he was delighted to launch the scheme. ‘This is an exciting, new initiative which will boost recycling rates, greatly reduce litter, and improve the environment…’

‘We know deposit return schemes work — they operate effectively in over 40 countries around the world, including 15 in Europe, where the average EU collection rate is 92%. By giving these containers a financial value, it incentivises consumers to return them. I think people in Ireland will really get behind this scheme and make it a great success; we saw this with the introduction of the plastic bag levy and the Euro.’

More information on the Deposit Return Scheme, including an FAQ, can be found on the Re-turn website.

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