From this Thursday, 1 February, all eligible drinks containers will have a small deposit added to them at payment, which can then be redeemed when the empty, undamaged containers are returned.
Drinks containers purchased before the scheme goes live on Thursday will not have the deposit applied to them at checkout, and so cannot be returned.
These containers should be recycled as normal.
PET plastic bottles and steel or aluminium cans that are eligible for the scheme purchased on or after 1 February will have a Re-turn logo on them and an extra charge applied at checkout.
When returning the containers, make sure that they are empty and undamaged, with the bar code still visible.
Containers can be returned to shops and supermarkets, either over the counter or by using a reverse vending machine (RVM). They do not have to be returned to the same store in which you purchased them, but vouchers issued by RVMs must be redeemed in the store to which you returned the containers.
If a store that you visit does not have a facility in place to return bottles, staff members will advise you as to the nearest return point.
Niamh Kelly, head of marketing and communications for Re-turn, said, “We are advising consumers that bottles and cans purchased before 1 February are not eligible for a deposit refund.”
Kelly continued, “Those who may have collected older bottles and cans should dispose of them as normal, in a recycling bin.”
Ahead of Thursday’s launch, Re-turn has issued guidelines, which can be found as follows.
When will I pay a deposit?
From 1 February onwards, drinks in plastic bottles and cans with the Re-turn logo will start to appear in shops and supermarkets nationwide.
These drinks containers will require the purchaser to pay a fully refundable deposit, in addition to the price of the product.
When finished your drink, you can return your empty, undamaged container to any participating shop or supermarket nationwide.
What will I pay?
A deposit of 15 cent will apply to each container from 150ml to 500ml, and a deposit of 25 cent will apply to containers over 500ml to three (3) litres.
Where can I return my bottles and cans?
The majority of retailers across the country have now registered for the Deposit Return Scheme and have set up their deposit return points.
Consumers can return their empty, undamaged plastic bottles and cans to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide, either through a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) or manually, over the counter.
From 1 February, the website www.re-turn.ie will feature a map that indicates where to find deposit return points.
How will I get my deposit back?
Consumers receive the deposit back when they return the empty and undamaged plastic bottle or can with the Re-turn logo to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide.
If they do so through a reverse vending machine, consumers will be issued a voucher that can be redeemed at the till against store purchases or as a cash refund.
If over the counter, retailers must check that the drinks container features the Re-turn logo and is undamaged, and then provide a refund.
Consumers are advised not to crush or squeeze the plastic bottles and cans.
When can I return my bottles and cans?
From the beginning of February, this scheme will be live.
Consumers will start to be charged the refundable deposit on drinks containers with the Re-turn logo, and, when finished, these drinks containers can be returned to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide for a full deposit refund.
Re-turn is asking consumers not to store drinks containers before the scheme goes live, as these bottles will not have the Re-turn logo and are therefore ineligible for any deposit refund, as no deposit has been paid.
Can I still use my own recycling bins to dispose of plastic bottles?
While all consumers should use their recycling bins for mixed dry recyclables, consumers are being asked to return their plastic bottles and cans with the Re-turn logo to local participating shops and supermarkets, to redeem their deposit.
The separate collection of these plastic bottles and cans guarantees that a high-quality recyclate material is returned and recycled, and that there is no cross-contamination.
The introduction of deposit return is a proven method of increasing recycling rates, with great success in a number of other European countries.
What is not included in the scheme?
Not every drinks container is eligible for deposit return.
Only drinks containers in PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans from 150ml to three (3) litres are included in the scheme.
All containers included in the scheme will feature the Re-turn logo.
Items that are not included in the Deposit Return Scheme include:
- any dairy drink products in plastic containers or cartons, e.g. milk/yoghurt drinks;
- steel and tin cans that contain foodstuffs; and
- containers for cleaning supplies.
These items should continue to be disposed of in a recycling bin.
Glass drink containers are also not included in the scheme and should be recycled as usual and brought to a glass and bottle bank.
Why is Ireland launching the Deposit Return Scheme?
The Deposit Return Scheme is a practical, circular-economy initiative that aims to create a closed-loop recycling system, guaranteeing that the material is returned and recycled.
The EU has set Ireland a target to separate and collect 77% of plastic beverage bottles by 2025.
This target will rise to 90% in 2029.
We currently recycle approximately 60% of drinks containers, and deposit return is a proven method of increasing recycling rates, with great success in a number of other European countries.