How Deposit Return Works

The Deposit Return Scheme process begins with the Producer. For every 'in scope' drink the Producer places on the market, they pay a deposit fee in addition to the Producer fee.  

This is recouped when the Retailer buys 'in scope' drinks as they pay the Producer the product price plus the deposit fee, ensuring the deposit fee is cost neutral for all involved.

How Deposit Return Works

How Deposit Return Works

What To Return

Watch our videos for further information on how Re-turn will operate and the important role of Producers.

What To Return

What To Return
How Deposit Return Works
What To Return

Producers Obligations


Ensure you are only selling drinks...

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Ensure you are only selling drinks containers from Producers registered with the Deposit Return Scheme operator, Re-turn.

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Deposit Payment

Ensure the Deposit Fee is paid to...

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Deposit Payment

Ensure the Deposit Fee is paid to Re-turn for each 'in scope' unit/product placed on the ROI market.

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Charge Deposit

Charge Retailers a Deposit Fee on all in-scope...

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Charge Deposit

Charge Retailers a Deposit Fee for all 'in-scope' products purchased for placement on the market.

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Product Information

Provide Re-turn with details on...

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Product Information

Provide Re-turn with details on all ‘in scope' products that are placed on the market.

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Producer Fee

Ensure the Producer Fee is paid...

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Producer Fee

Ensure the Producer Fee is paid for each ‘in scope’ unit/product placed on the market.

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Label 'in scope' products as detailed...

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Label 'in scope' products as detailed in the Technical Specification and Labelling document.

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Material Specifications

ComponentAcceptedTo be phased out
Bottle Material PET PLA, PVC, PS, PET-G, PEN, PEF
Colour Clear and transparent coloured PET Metallic colours, mineral additives, Titanium dioxide and carbon black
Barrier Monolayer Multilayer*
Closure PE,PP Metal (unless fully removed e.g. crown cap)
Closure Liner PE, EVA, TPE
Label / Sleeve* OPP, PP, PE, Paper, PET PVC, Metal foil, OPS, PS, PLA
Inks As per EuPIA guideline Substances on EuPIA exclusion list.
Label Adhesives Water or Alkali Soluble Hotmelt usage will be subject to testing Non-Recyclable Hotmelt
Can Aluminium & Steel Mixed materials (plastic and aluminium or plastic and steel)
Labels / Sleeves Most Plastic materials accepted PVC

A Guide For Producers

All 'in scope' drinks containers in the Deposit Return Scheme will feature the Re-turn logo, ensuring that the container can be clearly identified by both consumers and retailers accepting empty containers by manual return (i.e. over the counter). The Re-turn Technical & Labelling Specification document details the requirements for all 'in scope' products being placed on the market. 

New products and product changes

Product changes

All changes to 'in scope' registered drinks containers must be approved by Re-turn before they can be put onto the market. Products with significant changes in shape and will require a new approval.

New Product Registration

Registration of new products will be required from Q1 2023. When registering PET plastic bottles, the following specifications are required:

  • The material compositions of the bottle material
  • The label
  • The adhesive 
  • The bottle cap

Reporting and Audits

Producers must register any 'in scope' drinks container with Re-turn, before they can be placed on the market.

Re-turn is obligated to audit the records of Producers as outlined in the Producer Membership agreement.

Producer Fee

Producers are responsible, under the SUP Directive, to cover the costs of: 

  • Costs of awareness raising measures
  • Costs of waste collection for beverage containers , including collection infrastructure as well as the  transport and treatment of that waste
  • Costs of data gathering and reporting
  • Future costs of cleaning up litter resulting from discarded beverage containers.
  • The Producer fee is based on the net cost principle calculated on the above costs.
  • The producer fee will be paid per container, regardless of size, but will vary for different 'in scope' material types placed on the market. 
  • Producer fees will be available in December 2022.

Processing & Ownership of Material

The material collected is legally owned by Deposit Return Scheme Ireland CLG

The tendering process is currently underway for the Counting / Processing facility, with a view to finalizing a contract by the end of the year

The Deposit Return Scheme focuses on maximizing the volume and quality of material collected and reprocessed to increase economic benefit and minimise carbon footprint.

Producers will have first right on processed material purchases that will be sold at commodity market rates.


When does the deposit return scheme start?

The Deposit Return Scheme will go live on 1 February, 2024. 

How much is the deposit fee?

The variable Deposit Fee was announced by Minister Ossian Smyth TD on 28 November, 2022. The Scheme includes PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150mls and 3 litres.  A deposit of 15c will apply to containers from 150ml to 500ml inclusive and a deposit of 25c for containers over 500mls to 3 litres inclusive.

When the scheme launches on 1 February 2024, consumers will be charged a small deposit on each drink featuring the Re-turn logo, which is fully refundable when the empty, undamaged drinks container is returned to any retailer.

How do I get my deposit back?

From 1 February, 2024, when you purchase a drink featuring the Re-turn logo and pay your deposit fee, you will get a full refund on returning the empty, undamaged container to any retail outlet that sells drinks with the Re-turn logo.

Consumers may return containers to a retailer that takes them back over the counter (manual), or through the use of a a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM). If returning to an RVM, you must insert all Re-turn drinks containers as instructed and you will then be issued with a voucher which may be redeemed at the till.  *It is important to note that vouchers issued from an RVM must be redeemed at the same retail outlet. 

Do I have a choice on how my deposit is refunded?

You will have the choice to receive your refund against a store bought purchase, in cash or to put your refunded deposit towards a charitable cause.

What drinks containers can I return? 

PET plastic drink containers, steel and aluminum cans between 150ml and 3 litres that show the Re-turn logo are accepted. They will need to be empty, undamaged and the barcode needs to be clearly legible. Remember, all drink containers included in the scheme will feature the Re-turn logo. 

Not all drinks containers are eligible for Deposit Return. No dairy products are included in the Scheme. Eg. Milk, yogurt drinks.These containers will not have a Re-turn symbol, but should still be recycled.

Do I have to remove the lid when returning my plastic bottle?

You can return your empty, undamaged plastic bottle with or without the lid. We recommend returning bottles with caps, because this will ensure that the cap is recycled, too. Also, if the bottle cap is still on, it is easier to preserve the shape of the bottle.

Who is responsible for delivering the scheme? 

DRSI CLG, trading as Re-turn, is a new company limited by guarantee and was established by beverage producers and retailers in order to fulfil their obligations under the Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations 2021.  

The new Scheme brings together all parties involved in the manufacture, selling and consumption of beverages and has proved very successful internationally in increasing collection rates. 

Who is funding the Deposit Return Scheme?

The management and operation of the Deposit Return Scheme does not cost the public or government any money at all. The system is funded through producer fees for each product placed on the market.

How do I use a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM)?

Each RVM will provide a clear set of instructions on how to return your bottles and cans. Instructions will also be displayed on screen.

What can I do if an RVM is malfunctioning?

Notify the retailer of RVM malfunction and if the retailer is unable to resolve the issue, you will be able to return your empty drinks containers over the counter.

Can I return drinks containers bought before the 1st of February 2024?

Drinks purchased before 1 February, 2024 are not included in the Deposit Return Scheme but should still be recycled. From 1 February, 2024, when you purchase an ‘in scope’ drinks container, you will be charged a small deposit in addition to the purchase price of the drink. This deposit will be fully refunded when you return your empty, undamaged drinks container. 

What will happen to the drink containers once they have been collected?

All containers collected will be sent for recycling. The Deposit Return Scheme focuses on maximising the volume and quality of material collected for recycling.

Why are we moving from putting bottles & cans in the green bin to Deposit Return?  

To date, over 60% of plastic bottles and cans are being collected for recycling through green bins, which means that over 30% are not collected, leading to increased littering. 

By placing a value on the drinks containers, we are incentivising consumers to return their bottles and cans in order to get their deposit back and discourage littering. The Deposit Return Scheme is a circular economy initiative that aims to create a closed loop recycling system guaranteeing the material is returned and recycled into new drinks containers. 

In addition, with the separate collection of drinks containers, there is no cross contamination and a higher quality of recyclate is collected, which is more efficient. 

Have a different question?

Contact us via email:

Or give us a call on 01 461 8680

Do all beverage producers need to register with the Deposit Return Scheme? 

Yes- If you produce/manufacture drinks, import them or sell them online, you have a key role to play in the new Deposit Return Scheme and  must  register with Re-turn in order to fulfil your environmental and legislative responsibilities. 

I import drinks for sale on the Irish market, do I need to register with   Re-turn?

Yes, Ireland’s DRS Legislation defines a ‘producer’ as any person, irrespective of the selling technique used, who is first to place in-scope products on the market in the Republic of Ireland. 

How and when can Producers register details of ‘in scope’ drinks products for the Deposit Return Scheme? 

Phase 1 of Registration is now live and Producers are legally obliged to register with the Scheme. On completion of registration and signing of Membership Agreement, Producers will then be required to register all 'in scope' products on the Re-turn website from August 1 to late October, 2023, ready for go live in February 2024.

What if I stop producing a product?

You will need to notify Re-turn and remove the product from your registration list.

What is the process when Producers want to introduce new products  onto the market or change an existing product ? 

The registration of new products or changes to existing products and their specifications must be submitted to Re-turn for approval. Sample containers may be required for review by Re-turn. 

Are producers allowed to sell ‘in scope’ products that do not feature the Re-turn logo after 1 February 2024?

No.  All 'in scope' products must feature the Re-turn logo and meet the technical and labelling requirements as set out in the Re-turn Technical Specification and Labelling manual. 

How is the producer fee calculated?

A Producer Fee will be charged on each unit placed on the ROI market and is based on the net cost principle.

The rate will vary for different materials but will be consistent regardless of the size of the container.​  Details of Producer Fees will be available in December 2022.​

Have a different question?

Contact us via email:

Or give us a call on 01 461 8680

Do all Retailers have to register with the Deposit Return Scheme?

Yes. All Retailers that sell ‘in scope’ drinks – PET plastic bottles, aluminium/steel cans from 150ml to 3 litres - must register with Re-turn in order to fulfil their environmental and legislative responsibilities. Initial registration will open in late November 2022 and all Retailers will be provided with timelines to complete their registration.

What beverage containers are included in the Deposit Return Scheme?

PET plastic bottles and aluminium or steel cans  between 150ml and 3 litres are included in the Deposit Return Scheme. All eligible containers will display the Re-turn logo making identification easy for consumers and retailers accepting manual returns.  

Do I have to accept returns of all in scope drinks containers?

Yes. All registered Retailers will be required to accept Re-turn drinks containers regardless of where they were purchased or where the deposit was paid. Retailers will receive a Handling Fee for all containers they take back.

How does the deposit fee work?

When the Retailer purchases in scope drinks from the Producer, they pay the cost of the drink plus a deposit fee on each unit. Retailers then sell the drink to the consumer and charge the cost of the drink plus the deposit fee. When the consumer finishes the beverage, they will return the empty,  undamaged drinks container to the retailer and receive a full refund on their deposit fee. The Deposit Scheme Operator pays the retailer for all refunded deposit fees. Therefore, the deposit fee goes full circle and is cost neutral for all involved.

Can retailers offer consumers the option to use the Deposit Fee refund for in-store purchase or donation to charity instead of a cash refund?

The Consumer will have the choice to use their refunded Deposit Fee against a store bought purchase, receive in cash or put towards a charitable cause. 

How do I accept Deposit Return drinks containers?

A Retailer will have two options when offering a take-back service for the empty beverage containers returned by consumers: 

Manual collection or 

Automatic collection through a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM)

The volume of sales (and expected returns) of beverage containers is a key driver in determining whether a Retailer should rely on manual collection or opt for automatic collection via RVMs. 

How do manual returns work?

Consumers return the drinks container over the counter to the Retailer. The Retailer checks that the drinks container is empty, undamaged, features the Re-turn logo and that the barcode is clearly visible. The Consumer is then reimbursed the value of the Deposit. Re-turn reimburses the Retailer for all validated manual returns collected.

How should the accepted drinks containers be sorted and where should it be stored?

Manual collections will be stored in a barcoded bag provided by Re-turn, stored on premise until the collection driver arrives and scans the bag.
RVMs must be emptied when full. The barcoded bag must be sealed and stored on premise until the collection driver arrives who will scan the bag.
All bags and tags for use in both methods will be provided by Re-turn and storage options will be at the discretion of the retailer.

How often are the bags of empty drinks containers removed?

Manual and Automatic collection of material will operate 5-7 days a week. For larger Retailers, this may require a daily visit to collect material, while retailers operating manual returns may have collections twice per week, depending on volume.

Have a different question?

Contact us via email:

Or give us a call on 01 461 8680