Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme collects over 2 million drinks containers in first month of operation

Since the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme on February 1, over 705k transactions have been recorded, resulting in over 2 million drinks containers being returned in the first month of operation.

Re-turn, the operator of the Deposit Return Scheme, recorded February 29th as the most active day in February with 200,999 drinks containers returned but this daily figure continues to increase as more consumers become familiar with the scheme.

Chief Executive Officer of Re-turn, Ciaran Foley, commented on the early progress made by the Deposit Return Scheme: “I am greatly encouraged to see how the scheme is taking hold in Ireland and we have consumers to thank for that. We have made great strides when it comes to implementing the scheme and over the weekend alone, we collected over 670,000 containers. This figure will only continue to grow. We are committed to delivering the Deposit Return Scheme and helping Ireland reach its recycling targets of 77% by 2025 and early indications suggest we could reach this ahead of schedule.”

There are now 2193 Reverse Vending Machines across 1380 return locations facilitating the growing number of consumers participating in the circular economy initiative that aims to increase the separate collection and recycling rates of single-use drinks containers.

Deposit Return Schemes are active across 15 European countries and have successfully promoted positive recycling practices. Ireland’s rates of initial participation are very strong when compared to other recent successful launches. Romania, with a population of over 19 million, launched its Deposit Return Scheme on December 1 2023. It collected 31,000 containers in its first month of operation, 2.24m in its second month and 5 million in the first two weeks of February.

Addressing early issues, Foley added, “We hugely appreciate everyone’s patience during the four-month transition period as retailers sell through older not-in-scope stock. We also are mindful of the confusion that non-logo stock with international barcodes have caused. Rest assured, any consumer who pays a deposit on a drinks container, with or without a logo, during the transition phase will receive a full refund of the deposit when they return the item clean and undamaged to a Reverse Vending Machine in participating shops and supermarkets nationwide. From the 1st of June, all drink containers in plastic bottles or

aluminium cans from 150ml to 3 litres will feature the Re-turn logo and will be accepted by a Reverse Vending Machine.”

The Deposit Return Scheme is a practical 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 to separate and collect 77% of plastic beverage bottles and aluminium cans by 2025. This target will rise to 90% in 2029. We currently recycle approximately 60% of drinks containers and Deposit Return is a proven method of increasing recycling rates.

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 if they have any further queries.