Ahead of Ireland launching its deposit return scheme (DRS) on 1 February 2024, the scheme’s operator Re-Turn has published guidance for consumers.
From February, when Irish consumers purchase a drink in a plastic bottle or aluminium can that features the Re-turn logo, they will pay a fully refundable deposit in addition to the price of the drink. Drinks in plastic bottles and cans with the Re-turn logo will begin to be rolled out in shops and supermarkets nationwide in February.
A deposit of 15 cents will apply to each container from 150ml – 500mls and a deposit of 25 cents for containers over 500ml to 3 litres. Glass drinks containers are not included in the scheme. Once consumers have finished their drink, they can return the empty undamaged container to any participating shop or supermarket nationwide to redeem their deposits.
Re-Turn says the majority of retailers across Ireland registered for the DRS have set up their deposit return points. Consumers can return their empty undamaged plastic bottles and cans to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide either through a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) or over the counter.
To prevent waste, Re-turn says for a limited period, from 1 February there will be some stock of plastic bottles and cans without its logo. As consumers will not have paid a deposit on these plastic bottles and cans, they can be placed in recycling bins.
Ossian Smyth, the Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy, launched Ireland’s national DRS on 28 November 2022.
Speaking at the launch, Smyth said: “The DRS is an exciting new, circular initiative which will transform the way we think about empty drinks bottles and cans. The refundable deposit will incentivise us to return these containers so producers can make new bottles out of old bottles and new cans out of old cans, saving materials, and energy and reducing litter.
“The Scheme is a massive undertaking for producers and retailers and Re-turn, the producer-led company, who have shown great commitment and leadership in coming together to develop it.”
Re-Turn says the EU has set Ireland a target to separate and collect 77% of plastic beverage bottles by 2025, which will rise to 90% in 2029.