The Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), which will see a change in how drink containers are sold and recycled in Ireland, is launching in just two weeks.
The DRS will see a small deposit of 15c to 25c added to drink purchases, depending on the size of the container.
A circular-economy initiative, the scheme requires participation from the manufacturer, retailer, and customer to work.
Retailers and manufacturers have been preparing for the change since legislation was introduced in 2021, but the scheme will involve “a significant change in consumer behaviour,” as noted by Darin Horner of Tesco Ireland.
So, here are some key answers for customers ahead of the DRS launch on 1 February.
How Do I Know If I Can Return A Container?
The Re-turn logo will be on it.
Only beverages purchased on or after 1 February with the Re-turn logo, and that have had the deposit applied at the time of purchase, are eligible to be returned.
If the container does not have the Re-turn logo, it is not eligible for return.
Make sure to keep the bar code visible on containers as well, as if it is damaged or unclear, you may not be able to return it.
There will be a transition period from the introduction of the scheme while old stock is sold. The cut-off date to sell this stock is 31 May, so, by early June, almost every drink can and bottle sold in the Republic of Ireland will be part of the scheme.
What Size And Material Can I Return?
You can return bottles made of PET plastic and aluminium and steel cans.
The containers need to be between 150ml to 3L in capacity, though containers larger or smaller than this should still be traditionally recycled.
Other types of containers, such as milk cartons or cans for food items, cannot be returned as part of the scheme at this time, and will not have the Re-turn logo on them.
Can I Return Damaged Bottles Or Cans?
No. Containers must be empty and undamaged, so do not crush bottles or cans ahead of bringing them to a return point.
Bottles can be returned with or without their lids, but it is recommended to include the lid, so that it can be recycled and because it will help maintain the original shape of the bottle.
How Will I Return My Containers?
Some stores have installed reverse vending machines (RVMs), while others will facilitate the return at the checkout desk.
You can return containers with the Re-turn logo at RVMs, collect a receipt, and present it at the checkout.
There, you can either use the receipt towards your purchases or claim your money back.
Where there are no RVMs in store, you can return the containers straight to the checkout.
If the store is not participating in the return scheme, it will direct you to the nearest drop-off point.
Re-turn will have an interactive map live from the start of the scheme, to show return locations across Ireland, and if you are not sure, don’t be afraid to ask!
Why Are The Prices Of Drinks Going Up?
With the deposit, the price of drinks will go up on the original purchase from 1 February.
While this increase – 15c per container of 150ml-500ml and 25c per container of 501ml-3L – may not feel significant for single purchases, it may come as a shock to anyone buying a multipack.
This forms part of the incentive to take part – if all containers are returned empty and undamaged, you can use the returned deposit to offset the price increase during your next shop.
The change, which aims to improve recycling and reduce littering, will have a net cost of zero for those who participate.
So, be informed and ready – the launch is fast approaching!
Read More: The Deposit Return Scheme Made Easy