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Deposit Return Scheme Surpasses 20 Million Drinks Containers Collected

By Sarah O'Sullivan
Deposit Return Scheme Surpasses 20 Million Drinks Containers Collected

Over 20 million drinks containers have been collected in Ireland since the launch of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) on 1 February.

The milestone was reached on 29 March, when 1.2 million containers were returned in a single day – the highest number so far.

This surge in collections has indicated to Re-turn – the organisation implementing the scheme – the public’s increased participation and support of the DRS.

More than 2.2 million drinks containers were collected over the St Patrick’s Day bank holiday weekend (16-18 March).


The total number of containers returned had reached 21,018,360 by 30 March.


Re-turn’s benchmarking of collections helps the organisation measure the success of the scheme, compared to other European countries.

Slovakia, which implemented a return scheme in January 2022, collected 264,000 containers in its first month. Ireland collected two million in the same time frame.

In its second month, Slovakia reached eight million containers, while Ireland surpassed ten million by 18 March, indicating early success.

The DRS aims to improve Irish recycling rates, and by collecting containers separately, it aims to eliminate cross-contamination and improve the quality of the recyclate (recycled material) collected.

By providing a sufficient quantity and quality of recyclate, the scheme will increase the economic viability of building a recycling centre on the island of Ireland.


As it stands, much of Ireland’s recycled material is sent abroad or incinerated.

‘Continue To Grow’

The chief executive of Re-turn, Ciaran Foley, said of the latest figures, “The support of consumers nationwide is really positive, and as more Re-turn logo products enter circulation, we are seeing high return numbers that will only continue to grow, as we all become accustomed to the scheme.”

With 2,300 reverse vending machines (RVMs) now operational across the country, Re-turn has facilitated more than 6.89 million transactions, illustrating the widespread acceptance of the DRS.

Empty and undamaged PET bottles and aluminium or steel cans with a deposit applied can be returned to stores for a refund of the deposit or a voucher for the amount, to use in the returning store.

Containers with the Re-turn logo can be returned. While old stock is being sold, not every container eligible for return will have the Re-turn logo.


Starting from 1 June, all bottles and cans that are part of the scheme will have a Re-turn logo on them.

Read More: Deposit Return Scheme Reports Over 5 Million Containers Collected So Far

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