12 Weeks to Go: Irish Retailers Reminded to Register now for Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme

With only 12 weeks remaining before Ireland’s Deposit and Return Scheme goes live, Return are reminding all Retailers who sell drinks in PET plastic bottles and aluminium/steel cans, that they are legally obliged to register with the Scheme. Retailers can register online at www.re-turn.ie/retailer.

From 1 February 2024 onwards, when consumers buy a drink in a plastic bottle, aluminium or steel can that features the Re-turn logo, they will pay a small deposit in addition to the price of the drink. When they return the empty, undamaged container to shops and supermarkets with designated return points, the deposit is refunded in full. A deposit of 15c will apply to containers from 150ml – 500mls and a deposit of 25c for containers over 500ml to 3 litres.

Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme legislation defines a ‘Retailer’ as any person who for the purpose of trade or otherwise in the course of business sells or otherwise supplies ‘in-scope’ products to a final consumer.
In-scope products are defined as:
• PET Plastic bottles from 150ml – 3 litres
• Aluminium and steel cans from 150ml – 3 litres

Following registration, Retailers must then decide on the method of take-back – Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) or Manual Take Back – or alternatively apply for a Take Back Exemption based on meeting certain criteria. These criteria are detailed on the Take Back Exemption documents available to view and download on the Re-turn website.

Deposit Return starts on 1 February 2024 and marks the beginning of the 4-month transition period for Retailers. During this time, Retailers may sell both non-deposit stock and Re-turn logo stock, ensuring there is no wastage.

From 1 June 2024, only Re-turn logo stock may be stocked on Retailer shelves or sold to consumers. Re-turn is dedicated to helping retailers navigate this process smoothly and our Membership Team are on hand to provide support and guidance on obligations and operational processes to ensure a smooth transition. The team may be contacted at Tel. 01 4618680 or Email; membership@re-turn.ie

Key Information for Irish Retailers:
1. Mandatory Registration: All Retailers that sell ‘in-scope’ drinks containers must register with Re-turn at www.re-turn.ie. Registration is a straightforward process and ensures compliance with the scheme.
2. Take Back Exemption Application: Retailers may apply for a Take Back Exemption based on meeting certain criteria. Re-turn is dedicated to helping retailers navigate this process smoothly.
3. Transition Period Timelines: For full details of the Transition Period timelines for Retailers, please visit the Re-turn website at www.re-turn.ie/retailer or download the Transition Period Workshop slide deck here.
4. Transition Assistance: Re-turn is committed to supporting retailers through this critical transition period and welcomes the opportunity to provide guidance and assistance.
5. Access to Resources: To assist retailers, Re-turn has made available extensive information available on its website. Retailers can find comprehensive resources, guidelines, and FAQs to better understand the Deposit Return Scheme and what it means for their business.

The Deposit Return Scheme is a circular economy initiative that aims to create a closed-loop recycling system guaranteeing high-quality recyclate material is returned and recycled.

Under the EU Single Use Plastic (SUP) directive, Ireland must ensure the separate collection of 77% of plastic beverage bottles by 2025, rising to 90% by 2029. We currently recycle between 60%-70% of drinks containers and Deposit Return is a proven method of increasing recycling rates, with great success in a number of other European countries.

Irish retailers are strongly encouraged to visit www.re-turn.ie, where they can register, access information, and apply for any necessary Take Back Exemptions as the countdown to the Deposit Return Scheme transition continues.