How Deposit Return Works

Under the new Deposit Return Scheme, when the consumer buys an ‘in scope’ drink from the retailer featuring the Re-turn logo, they pay a small deposit in addition to the retail price. This deposit must be refunded in full by the Retailer when the consumer returns the empty, undamaged drinks container.

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 Retailers.

What To Return

What To Return
How Deposit Return Works
What To Return

Retailer Obligations

Compliance

Ensure you are only selling drinks...

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Compliance

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

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Return Point

Accept all 'in scope' empty, undamaged drinks...

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Return Point

Accept all 'in scope' empty, undamaged drinks containers featuring the Re-turn logo, regardless of where they were purchased. Provide a full deposit refund to the consumer.

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Accessibility

Ensure that the facility for taking...

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Accessibility

Ensure that the facility for taking back Re-turn bottles and containers on your premises is clearly visible and easily accessible for consumers.

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Itemised Deposit

Ensure that the payment of...

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Itemised Deposit

Ensure that the payment of the deposit is itemised on the proof of payment and displayed clearly as a separate charge from the product price.

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Storage

Provide storage for Re-turn drinks containers...

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Storage

Provide storage for Re-turn drinks containers and agree method and frequency of collection with Deposit Return Scheme Operator, Re-turn.

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Consumer Information

Clearly display information on how to...

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Consumer Information

Clearly display information on how to redeem the deposit in-store. Retailers should also clearly display their certificate of registration with Re-turn.

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Plastic

What Can Be Returned?

Material:

Plastic bottles

Capacity:

Drinks containers from 150ml – 3 litres featuring the Re-turn logo are included in the Scheme

*To prevent waste, for a limited period from 1 February, there will be some stock of plastic bottles and cans that may not feature the Re-turn logo. Should consumers be charged a deposit on these drinks containers, please be assured that you will get your deposit back when you return empty and undamaged to RVM Deposit Return Points nationwide. 

Aluminium/Steel cans

What Can Be Returned?

Material:

Aluminium and steel cans

Capacity:

Drinks containers from 150ml – 3 litres featuring the Re-turn logo are included in the Scheme

*To prevent waste, for a limited period from 1 February, there will be some stock of plastic bottles and cans that may not feature the Re-turn logo. Should consumers be charged a deposit on these drinks containers, please be assured that you will get your deposit back when you return empty and undamaged to RVM Deposit Return Points nationwide. 

Drinks containers must be returned empty and undamaged with barcode clearly legible.

Not included

What Cannot Be Returned

Not every drinks container is eligible for Deposit Return.

Only ‘in-scope’ drinks containers in PET plastic bottles, aluminium & steel cans from 150ml to 3 litres are included in the Scheme.

Remember, all drinks containers included in the Deposit Return Scheme will feature the Re-turn logo.

The following are NOT included in the Deposit Return Scheme:

  • Glass drinks containers
  • All dairy products. Eg. Milk, yogurt drinks.

These containers will not have a Re-turn logo, but should still be recycled.

What Can Be Returned?

What Can Be Returned?

What Cannot Be Returned

Plastic
150ml - 3l
Example of plastic bottle graphic
Plastic
150ml - 3l
Example of plastic bottle graphic
Plastic
Example of plastic bottle graphic

Benefits of Deposit Return

Customer Loyalty

Increased customer loyalty by offering consumers a positive and convenient Deposit Return experience.

Circular Economy

Opportunity to play your part in leading Ireland towards a more sustainable future and relieving pressure on natural resources.

Consumer Footfall

Potential to increase consumer footfall as consumers return their empty beverage containers to get their deposit fee refund.

Contribute

Opportunity to encourage consumers to use Deposit Return as a method to gain store loyalty points or to donate to charity.

DEPOSIT RETURN OPTIONS

A Guide For Retailers

A Retailer will have two options when offering a take-back service for the empty, undamaged drinks containers featuring the Re-turn logo returned by consumers:

Manual Returns  or  Automatic Returns through a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM).

The volume of sales and expected returns, of drinks containers is a key driver in determining whether a Retailer chooses manual collection opt for automatic collection via RVMs.

Reverse Vending Machines (RVM)

Reverse Vending Machines (RVM)

An RVM automatically accepts ‘in scope’ returns and issues a voucher to be redeemed at the till. The RVMs require both power and an internet connection. The RVMs will then send data to Re-turn. All RVMs must meet the requirements outlined in the RVM Specification. Retailers who opt for an RVM will have the option to purchase or lease these machines.

A copy of the current RVM Specification is available below.

RVM Specification

Manual Returns

Manual Returns

Retailers may  opt to accept ‘in scope’ Re-turn drinks containers over the counter, which is classed as Manual Collection.

For further details on how Manual Collection will work, please click here.

Retailers must ensure the returned  ‘in scope’ drinks containers feature the Re-turn logo and are empty and undamaged, clearly displaying the barcode.

Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) Suppliers

Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) Suppliers

Retailers who opt to purchase/lease an RVM must choose from the Re-turn approved list of RVM suppliers.
The current RVM Suppliers approved by Re-turn are:

Company Name Contact Details
EcoVend Andy Jacobs
+44 (0)7976 401416
andyjacobs@ecovend.com
Envipco sales@envipco.com

01 524 1249

RVM Systems David Kelly
01 485 3646
david.kelly@rvmsystems.com
Sensi Nathan Misischi
0862400296
nathan@sensi.ie
Sielaff Stephen Stothard
+44 (0)7340 413899
stephen.stothard@sielaff.co.uk
Tomra Peter Whelan
087 4265098
peter.whelan@Tomra.com
Collections

Collections

Re-turn will collect and transport deposit return material in addition to promoting the use of reverse logistics for the collection of material from the scheme.

Collections from stores with Reverse Vending Machines and manual collections will operate throughout the week except on Sunday. For some larger retail outlets, there may be up to three collections per week while retailers operating manual returns will have one collection per week. Collection frequencies will be adjusted to meet demand and difficult operational situations such as stores in city centre areas. The scheme aims to ensure an efficient collection system based on returns to each store.

Each bag collected will be have a barcode to identify the Retailer store, supporting traceability throughout the system.  It is then transported to the designated facility for counting, sorting and processing.

Handling Fee

All Retailers who take back ‘in scope’ drinks containers featuring the Re-turn logo will be paid a Handling Fee, which ensures that the Deposit Return Scheme is cost-neutral. The purpose of the Handling Fee is to compensate Retailers and to offset costs incurred in participating in the scheme.  The main costs include:

  • DRS collection infrastructure, retail floor space; staff/labour costs, security costs and other miscellaneous costs

The Handling Fee is categorised according to the method of collection: Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) or Manual collection.

The level of the Handling Fee will be determined by Re-turn, subject to verification by independent consultants, to ensure it is fair and reflective of current factors. Please click here for the updated handling fees.

Handling Fee

Sample Picture

Repayment of Deposit Fee

Retailers will be reimbursed for all Deposit Fees refunded to consumers returning empty, undamaged beverage containers, displaying the Re-turn logo.

Manual Returns

The process begins when the containers are collected from the Retailer and processed at the counting centre. Each container is then validated and Retailers will be refunded the deposit through the agreed accounting and reporting systems as specified by Re-turn.

Automatic Returns (RVMs)

The material is scanned on site by the RVM, thus validating the material. The information gathered feeds into the central data system of Re-turn, and indicates the deposit to be reimbursed. Retailers will be refunded the deposit through the agreed accounting and reporting systems as specified by Re-turn.

Repayment of Deposit Fee

Sample Picture

FAQ's

Are Retailers obliged to have a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) 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.

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.

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.

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?

To prevent waste, for a limited period, from 1 February there will be some stock of plastic bottles and cans that may not feature the Re-turn logo. Should consumers be charged a deposit on these drinks containers, please be assured that you will get your deposit back when you return to RVM Deposit Return Points nationwide.

Consumers may return containers to a retailer that takes them back over the counter (manual), or through the use of 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 or in cash.

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.

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.

*To prevent waste, for a limited period, from 1 February there will be some stock of plastic bottles and cans that may not feature the Re-turn logo. Should consumers be charged a deposit on these drinks containers, please be assured that you will get your deposit back when you return to RVM Deposit Return Points nationwide.

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.

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.

Have a different question?

Contact us via email: info@re-turn.ie

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.

Are Retailers obliged to have a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) 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.

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: info@re-turn.ie

Or give us a call on 01 461 8680

Why Now ?

We are all aware that we need to tackle climate change and transition to a circular economy, whereby we move away from the ‘take, make and dispose culture’ to one of keeping materials in circulation for as long as possible and valuing our limited resources.

Under the SUP Directive, Ireland must ensure the separate collection of 77% of plastic beverage bottles placed on the market by 2025, rising to 90% in 2029.

Deposit Return Schemes are a proven success in over 40 other jurisdictions around the world, including 12 in Europe (and Malta just launched), and will help us reach those recycling targets and deliver significant environmental benefits.

Has the Deposit Return Scheme started already?

The new national Deposit Return Scheme, Re-turn will ‘go live’ in February 2024. There are NO DEPOSIT RETURN PILOT SCHEMES in operation in Ireland at present, as no-one is required to pay a deposit for their bottles and cans.

There are reverse vending machines in place in some retail outlets, encouraging consumers to place their bottles and cans in the machines for charitable purposes or against in-store purchase. They are not part of the Re-turn Scheme and again, a Scheme will not ‘go live’ for consumers until February 2024

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.

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.

Do Retailers have to buy a Reverse Vending Machine?

No. Retailers may opt to take back drink containers either through manual return (over the counter) or by automatic collection (Reverse Vending Machines – RVM) Retailers have the choice of whether they opt for a reverse vending machine or not and may purchase or lease a machine.

Do beverage manufacturers need to change their beverage labelling/barcodes? 

Yes – All ‘in scope’ beverage containers must feature the Re-turn symbol and a new national (or international) barcode. All producers must comply with the labelling guidelines as set out in the Technical Specifications and Labelling Manual provided by Re-turn.

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.

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.

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

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.

Are Retailers obliged to have a Reverse Vending Machine to take back empty ‘in scope’ containers?

Are Retailers obliged to have a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) 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.

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.

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?

Collections from stores with Reverse Vending Machines and manual collections will operate throughout the week except on Sunday. For some larger retail outlets, there may be up to three collections per week while retailers operating manual returns will have one collection per week. Collection frequencies will be adjusted to meet demand and difficult operational situations such as stores in city centre areas. The scheme aims to ensure an efficient collection system based on returns to each store.

Have a different question?

Contact us via email:  info@re-turn.ie

Or give us a call on  01 461 8680