Ireland’s DRS collects over 2 million drinks containers in first month


Deposit return scheme

Over two million drinks containers have been returned and collected from participating shops and supermarkets nationwide as part of Ireland’s deposit return scheme, Re-turn have announced.

The scheme administrator Re-turn said over 705 thousand transactions have been recorded in the month of February, which has resulted in over 2 million drinks containers being returned to participating shops and supermarkets across Ireland.

Re-turn said Thursday, 29 February was the most active day in February with just under 201,000 drinks containers returned. There are currently 2,202 Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) and over 150 manual return points across 1380 deposit return locations, Re-turn said.

deposit return scheme
Ireland’s DRS went live on 1 February.

Commenting on the statistics, Ciaran Foley, CEO of Re-turn, said: “I am really encouraged by the support and participation shown by Irish consumers during the first month of the scheme.

“Over this past weekend, we collected another 670,000 containers and to have nearly 3 million deposit returns at this early stage shows a willingness and commitment to reducing litter, protecting our environment and better recycling.”

Re-turn said Ireland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) is a circular economy initiative that aims to create a closed-loop recycling system guaranteeing that the material is returned and recycled.

The EU has set Ireland a target for the separate collection of 77% by 2025 and 90% by 2029. Re-turn said that Ireland currently recycles approximately 60% of drinks containers.

 Re-turn said DRSs are active across 15 European countries and Ireland’s rates of initial participation are “very strong” when compared to EU counterparts. Romania, which has a population of over 19 million, launched its DRS on 1 December 2023, collected 31,000 containers in the scheme’s first month of operation and 2.24 million in its second month, Re-turn said.

Ireland’s DRS went live on 1 February. The DRS requires anyone who buys a drink in a plastic bottle or aluminium can featuring a Re-turn logo to pay a deposit which can be redeemed when returning the container empty and undamaged to a participating retailer.

A 15-cent deposit applies to containers between 150ml to 500mls, while a deposit of 25 cents applies to containers between 500ml and 3 litres.

Foley continued: “We understand that this is a huge behavioural change for all Irish consumers, and we appreciate everyone’s patience during the four-month transition period as retailers sell through non-deposit products, together with Re-turn logo stock and some stock that may incur a deposit but does not feature the Re-turn logo.

“From June, all drinks containers in plastic bottles or aluminium cans included in the scheme from 150ml to 3 litres will feature the Re-turn logo.”

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