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How Retailers Are Approaching The Deposit Return Scheme

By Sarah O'Sullivan
How Retailers Are Approaching The Deposit Return Scheme

The launch of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is almost upon us. Retailers have been preparing for months, but what exactly have they been doing?

From 1 February, PET bottles and steel and aluminium cans with the Re-turn logo will have a refundable deposit applied to them.

When the empty, undamaged containers are returned to a participating store, customers will be issued with a voucher that can either be used for a cash refund of the deposit or towards their shopping at the store.

The nationwide scheme hopes to increase the recycling level in Ireland from its current 60% to the EU recommended 77% for 2025.

With new research revealing that some 95% of people plan to engage with the scheme, the next question is, how?


We look at the approach that some of Ireland’s top retailers have taken to the scheme.

Read More: The Deposit Return Scheme Made Easy


From left to right Ciaran Foley CEO Re-turn, Natasha Adams CEO Tesco Ireland and Darrin Honer Tesco Ireland Country Operations Manager.

Tesco launched reverse vending machines (RVMs) in all 170 of its stores in Ireland as part of a €15 million investment in the scheme.

Customers will be able to return their bottles and cans to an RVM at any Tesco Express, Extra or Superstore across the country.

Speaking about the company’s investment in the scheme, the chief operations officer of Tesco Ireland, Natasha Adams, said, “We’re hugely committed to playing our part in building a more sustainable world.


“We’ve invested €15 million in indoor machines for all our stores, which we hope will help make the transition easier for customers.”

SuperValu And Centra

Two newly-installed reverse vending machines (RVMs) outside Supervalu Cobh.

The two retailers, owned by the Musgrave Group, announced the installation of 667 RVMs across 540 stores across the Republic of Ireland.

Unlike other retailers on the list, they were unable to instal them at every location, but they have ensured that every community will have access to the scheme.

The move reflects a €28 million investment.

The managing director for SuperValu and CentraIan Allen, said, “By investing €28 million in the installation of over 600 reverse vending machines in every county in Ireland, we hope to make returns as convenient as possible for everyone.”



Aldi sign

Aldi Ireland announced a €15 million investment to install RVMs in all 161 of its Irish stores.

The roll-out of RVMs in Aldi comes after a successful trial in its Mitchelstown store, in which monthly proceeds were donated to Aldi’s charity partner, Barnardos.

Speaking on the announcement, Aldi Ireland’s managing director of buying and services, Colin Breslin, said, “We are delighted here at Aldi to be a part of this scheme, which aligns with our pursuit of waste reduction and nurturing a circular economy.”


Lidl logo on a building

Lidl Ireland has installed two RVMs in each of its stores across Ireland.

The first retailer to launch a trial of the scheme in 2021, Lidl, to date, has facilitated the recycling of two million drinks containers.


Speaking on the scheme in 2021, the chief executive of Lidl Ireland, JP Scally, said “As a retailer with a significant footprint across the country, we have an opportunity to drive real change where consumer habits are concerned.”

Scally continued, “[We] hope that our trial will help to support and inform other retailers, large and small, in their efforts to roll out the nationwide scheme.”

Unlike its competitors, Lidl did not announce a roll-out this week, as it had already taken place in store.

The discount retailer noted that it had prioritised getting ahead in adjusting customer behaviour before the nationwide launch, which is now only one week away.

Read More: Deposit Return Scheme – What Customers Need To Know

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