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
What To Return
Watch our videos for further information on how Re-turn will operate and the important role of Producers.
What To Return
Ensure you are only selling drinks...Learn more
Ensure you are only selling drinks containers from Producers registered with the Deposit Return Scheme operator, Re-turn.Go back
Ensure the Deposit Fee is paid...Learn more
Ensure the Deposit Fee is paid to Re-turn for each 'in scope' unit/product placed on the ROI market.Go back
Charge Retailers a Deposit Fee for all 'in-scope'...Learn more
Charge Retailers a Deposit Fee for all 'in-scope' products purchased for placement on the market.Go back
Provide Re-turn with details on all...Learn more
Provide Re-turn with details on all ‘in scope' products that are placed on the market.Go back
Ensure the Producer Fee is paid...Learn more
Ensure the Producer Fee is paid for each ‘in scope’ unit/product placed on the market.Go back
Label 'in scope' products as detailed...Learn more
Label 'in scope' products as detailed in the Technical Specification and Labelling document.Go back
|Component||Accepted||To 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|
|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
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 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.
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.
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.
How much is the deposit fee?
From 1 February, 2024, when you buy a drink featuring the Re-turn logo, you will be charged a small deposit in addition to the price of the drink. The drinks containers included in the Scheme are 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.
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.
How do I use a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM)?
All Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) will have clear instructions on how drinks containers featuring the Re-turn logo are to be inserted into the machine. When containers are inserted, the machine reads the containers, confirms they are part of the Deposit Return Scheme, and then issues a voucher for the amount of containers returned. Consumers may then present this voucher at the till for full refund or against store purchase.
*It is important to note that vouchers issued from an RVM must be redeemed at the same retail outlet.
Why are there different deposit fees for different containers?
The variable deposit fees reflect the size of the drinks containers and is reflective of the value of the material. The larger the container, the more valuable the plastic and aluminium for recycling purposes.
The drinks containers included in the Scheme are PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150mls and 3 litres. A deposit of 15c will apply to containers 500mls or less and a deposit of 25c for each container from 500ml to 3 litres.
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.
What drinks containers can I return?
PET plastic drinks 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 logo, 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.
Why doesn’t the Deposit Return Scheme include glass?
Currently, Ireland has a recycling rate of over 80% for glass and is surpassing recycling targets for this material. As a result, there are no plans to include glass in the Scheme but this may be open to change in the future.
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.
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.
What can I do if an RVM is malfunctioning?
Notify the Retailer of an RVM malfunction.
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.
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 31 October, 2023, ready for go live in February 2024.
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.
Which barcodes should a Producer use for Re-turn logo stock?
Our recommendation is that you switch to a NEW ROI specific barcode for Re-turn logo products sold in the Republic of Ireland ONLY. The new barcode must be GS1 compliant.
If you choose to retain your existing international barcode, there is an additional surcharge, and this surcharge is €0.0312 per container, which covers the fraud/ financial risk associated with this and is on top of the Producer fee.
All in scope products sold in the Republic of Ireland must feature the Re-turn logo. This is for consumer identification primarily, but also for retailers and for enforcement purposes.
Can products with an international SKU and the Re-turn logo on the packaging be sold outside of ROI?
Yes. If Producers opt for an international barcode, this Re-turn logo stock may be sold outside of the Republic of Ireland, but Producers will only be charged for the Re-turn logo stock placed on the marketing in the Republic of Ireland.
How is the producer fee calculated?
A Producer Fee is charged on each unit placed on the ROI market and is based on the net cost principle.
The rate varies for different materials but is consistent regardless of the size of the container. Full details of the Producer Fees may be accessed here.
What Transition Period process is in place for non-deposit and Re-turn logo stock?
There is a Transition Period in place to facilitate the run down of non-deposit stock and prevent waste. Full details of the Transition Period and timelines may be accessed here.
When can I start supplying Retailers with Re-turn logo stock?
As part of the Transition Period process, Producers can start supplying Retailers with Re-turn logo stock from 1 January, 2024. Full details of the Transition Period and timelines may be accessed here.
Are Producers allowed to sell non-deposit products that do not feature the Re-turn logo after 1 February 2024?
Yes. As part of the Transition Period non-deposit stock may be sold for an additional period of 6 weeks, from 1 February until 15 March 2024 to facilitate the run-down of non-deposit stock. Full details of the Transition Period and timelines may be accessed here.
What is the process for 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.
What if I stop producing a product?
You will need to notify Re-turn and remove the product from your registration list.
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
Are Retailers obliged to have a Reverse Vending Machine to take back empty 'in scope' containers?
Retailers may opt for either manual return or for automatic collection, through Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs). Retailers have the choice of whether they opt for a reverse vending machine or not. It is not compulsory for any retailer to have a reverse vending machine.
Are Retailers compensated for accepting Deposit Return containers?
All Retailers are paid a ‘Handling Fee’ which ensures that the Deposit Return Scheme is cost neutral for them. It covers the associated costs of accepting and sorting drinks containers in the retail environment. The handling fee will be the same for plastic bottles and cans but will vary according to whether containers are collected manually or through a reverse vending machine.
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.