New Milestone Figure Reached: 200 Million Containers Returned by Irish Consumers

19th June 2024: Re-turn, the operator of Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme today announced that over 200 million containers have been returned by Irish consumers since the scheme launched on 1 February. Since the start of June, an average of 2.9 million containers are being returned daily as adoption of the scheme continues to grow.

As a circular economy initiative, Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme aims to move away from the ‘take make and dispose’ culture to one of returning valuable materials and keeping them in the economy for as long as possible. Through a Deposit Return Scheme, aluminium cans can be recycled infinitely while PET plastic bottles can be recycled multiple times, reducing the need for virgin materials. By returning drinks containers, consumers are contributing to a sustainable future and guaranteeing that material can be recycled into new drinks containers.

Speaking on the milestone figure, CEO of Re-turn, Ciaran Foley, said:
“Since the launch of the Deposit Return Scheme, Irish consumers have shown great support and engagement, and the past few weeks are a testament as we have achieved yet another milestone. With over 200 million drinks containers returned, we are positive about the future and believe that our network across Ireland is ready to meet new levels of demand. By working together, we are contributing to a green future for generations to come, and we at Re-turn are excited for the busy summer months ahead.”

Earlier this month, Re-turn announced ‘Return for Children’ a new charity fundraising initiative in partnership with six of Ireland’s national children’s charities – Barnardos Ireland, Barretstown, Childline by ISPCC, Jack & Jill, LauraLynn Children’s Hospice, and Make-A-Wish Ireland. The initiative will provide attendees at participating events with the option to donate their bottle and can deposits at designated Re-turn bins to the six children’s charities.

Event organisers who want to fundraise through the Re-turn logo plastic bottle and can collections for ‘Return for Children’ or their own chosen charities, can get further guidance on how to do so by contacting

Progress made since launch
Total Drinks Containers returned in Months:
• Over 2m containers February
• Over 20m containers in March
• Over 50m containers in April
• Over 78m containers in May
• Over 49m containers in June to date

Daily Average of Drinks Containers returned in Months:
• 69,000 containers a day in February
• 670,000 containers a day in March
• 1.7 million containers a day in April
• 2.5 million containers a day in May
• 2.9 million containers a day in June to date

This upward trend not only underscores the public’s robust dedication to recycling but also highlights the continued growth and success of the Scheme.

Internationally, the introduction of Deposit Return as a method of encouraging consumers to return their plastic bottles and cans has proven a very successful and practical solution to increasing recycling rates. It is important that these drinks containers are recycled separately and through reverse vending machines (RVMs) as it is more efficient and prevents any cross contamination that may occur in mixed dry recycling bins.

By separating plastic and aluminium from general recycling, we can achieve a 98% quality of recyclate, surpassing the 80% effectiveness of the recycling bin system. It’s important to note that this 80% represents only what actually makes it to the green bin.

In addition to reducing litter, the main purpose of this scheme is to help Ireland reach the EU’s recycling targets. The Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive is the main driver for the
introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme. Ireland needs to achieve the EU recycling target of 90% by 2029 (an interim target of 77% by 2025) and Deposit Return is a proven successful solution to achieving this target.

Re-turn is dedicated to helping everybody navigate this circular economy initiative. The organisation is positive about the rising figures and encourages businesses and the public to access support channels and FAQ, available on the Re-turn website.