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
What To Return
Watch our videos for further information on how Re-turn will operate and the important role of Retailers.
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
Accept all 'in scope' empty, undamaged drinks...Learn more
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.Go back
Ensure that the facility for taking...Learn more
Ensure that the facility for taking back Re-turn bottles and containers on your premises is clearly visible and easily accessible for consumers.Go back
Ensure that the payment of...Learn more
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.Go back
Provide storage for Re-turn drinks containers...Learn more
Provide storage for Re-turn drinks containers and agree method and frequency of collection with Deposit Return Scheme Operator, Re-turn.Go back
Clearly display information on how to...Learn more
Clearly display information on how to redeem the deposit in-store. Retailers should also clearly display their certificate of registration with Re-turn.Go back
What Can Be Returned?
150ml – 3 litres
All eligible drinks containers will display the Re-turn logo, making it easy to identify what is included in the Deposit Return Scheme. Drinks containers must be returned empty and undamaged.
What Can Be Returned?
Aluminium and steel cans
150ml – 3 litres
All eligible drinks containers will display the Re-turn logo, making it easy for both Retailers and consumers to identify what is included in the Deposit Return Scheme.
Drinks containers must be returned empty and undamaged with barcode clearly legible.
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
Benefits of Deposit Return
Increased customer loyalty by offering consumers a positive and convenient Deposit Return experience.
Opportunity to play your part in leading Ireland towards a more sustainable future and relieving pressure on natural resources.
Potential to increase consumer footfall as consumers return their empty beverage containers to get their deposit fee refund.
Opportunity to encourage consumers to use Deposit Return as a method to gain store loyalty points or to donate to charity.
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)
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.
Retailers may opt to accept ‘in scope’ Re-turn drinks containers over the counter, which is classed as Manual Collection.
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
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|
+44 (0)7976 401416
087 39 515 49
|RVM Systems||David Kelly
01 485 3646
+44 (0)7340 413899
Re-turn will issue tenders for the collection and transport of deposit return material in addition to promoting the use of reverse logistics for the collection of material from the scheme.
Manual and automatic collection of material will operate 5-7 days a week. For the larger Retailers, this may be a daily visit to collect material, while Retailers operating manual returns may have collections twice per week, depending on volume. Collection frequencies will be adjusted to meet demand and ensure efficient operation as the system beds in.
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.
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.
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.
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
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. Registration is now open 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 (except those with a Take Back Exemption) 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. Re-turn pays the Retailer for all refunded deposit fees (in addition to a Handling Fee). 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’. 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.
Manual collections will be stored in a barcoded bag provided by Re-turn, and transferred to a Re-turn bin stored on premise until the collection driver arrives and scans the bag. All bags and tags will be provided by Re-turn. 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, and transferred to a Re-turn bin stored on premise until the collection driver arrives and scans the bag. All bags and tags will be provided by Re-turn.
RVMs must be emptied when full. The bin must be stored on premise until collection.
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.