January 10th, 2024: Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme goes live on 1 February 2024. From this date onwards, when 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. The operator of the nationwide scheme, Re-turn, has some useful guidance for consumers as we approach this date.
When will I pay a deposit?
From 1 February onwards, drinks in plastic bottles and cans with the Re-turn logo will start to appear in shops and supermarkets nationwide. These drinks containers will require the purchaser to pay a fully refundable deposit in addition to the price of the product. When finished your drink, you can return your empty undamaged container to any participating shop or supermarket nationwide.
To prevent waste, for a limited period, from 1 February there will be some stock of plastic bottles and cans without the Re-urn logo. As consumers will not have paid a deposit on these plastic bottles and cans, they can be placed in recycling bins.
What will I pay?
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.
My drinks container did not have a Re-turn logo on it, but I was still charged a deposit?
Should consumers be charged a deposit on a drinks container, please be assured that you will get your deposit back when you return it empty and undamaged to Reverse Vending Machine Deposit Return Points nationwide.
Starting February 1, 2024, retailers have a 4-month transition period during which they can sell both new drinks containers with the Re-turn logo and older drinks containers that do not feature this logo. During this time, drinks containers can incur a deposit in two ways:
- By having the Re-turn logo with a registered barcode
- By having a barcode that is registered as part of the scheme without the Re-turn logo.
During the transition period, there will be old drink containers without a logo and with barcode not registered with the scheme; these drinks containers will not incur a deposit charge.
From June 1, all drinks containers included in the scheme will feature the Re-turn logo and barcode. If a consumer is in any doubt about whether their container is eligible for a refund on a deposit, they can visit https://re-turn.ie/consumer/#barcodeChecker to verify.
Where can I return my bottle and cans?
The majority of retailers across the country have now registered for the Deposit Return Scheme and 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 manually, over the counter.
From 1 February our website www.re-turn.ie will feature a map that indicates where to find deposit return points.
How will I get my deposit back?
Consumers receive the deposit back when they return the plastic bottle or can with the Return logo that is empty and undamaged to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide. If through a reverse vending machine, consumers will be issued a voucher that can be redeemed at the till against store purchases or as a cash refund. If over the counter, retailers must check the drinks container features the Re-turn logo and is undamaged and then provide a refund. Consumers are advised not to crush or squeeze the plastic bottles and cans.
When can I return?
From the beginning of February, this scheme will be live. Consumers will start to be charged the refundable deposit on drinks containers with the Re-turn logo and when finished, these drinks containers can be returned to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide for a full deposit refund.
Re-turn is asking consumers not to store drinks containers before the Scheme goes live as these bottles will not have the Re-turn logo and are therefore ineligible for any deposit refund as no deposit has been paid.
Can I still use my own recycling bins to dispose of plastic bottles?
While all consumers should use their recycling bins for mixed dry recyclables, we would ask that consumers return their plastic bottles and cans with the Re-turn logo to local participating shops and supermarkets to redeem their deposit. The separate collection of these plastic bottles and cans guarantees a high-quality recyclate material is returned and recycled and there is no cross-contamination. The introduction of Deposit Return is a proven method of increasing recycling rates, with great success in a number of other European countries.
What is not included in the scheme?
Not every drinks container is eligible for Deposit Return. Only drinks containers in PET plastic bottles, aluminium & steel cans from 150ml to 3 litres are included in the Scheme. All containers included in the Scheme will feature the Re-turn logo. Items that are not included in the deposit return scheme include:
• Any dairy drinks products in plastic containers or cartons e.g. milk, yogurt drinks
• Steel and tin cans that contain foodstuffs
• Containers for cleaning supplies
These items should continue to be disposed of in a recycling bin.
Glass drinks containers are also not included in the scheme and should be recycled as usual
and brought to a glass and bottle bank.
Why is Ireland launching a Deposit Return Scheme?
The Deposit Return Scheme is a practical circular economy initiative that aims to create a
closed-loop recycling system guaranteeing the material is returned and recycled. The EU has set Ireland a target to separate and collect 77% of plastic beverage bottles by 2025. This target will rise to 90% in 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.
Re-turn has created an FAQ page on the website for any questions which consumers may have, and they are strongly encouraged to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any further queries.