The Deposit Return Scheme — a new, nationwide money-back scheme for plastic drinks bottles and aluminium cans — is being rolled out from February 1, 2024. The scheme incentivises people to return used drinks containers so that they can be successfully recycled into new containers.
The Deposit Return Scheme is a key commitment of the Programme for Government 2020, and is a fundamental building block of a circular economy. About 5 million drinks are consumed in single-use containers in Ireland each day. As well as boosting recycling rates, the Deposit Return Scheme will significantly reduce the number of bottles and cans being littered or sent to landfill or incineration.
From February 1, 2024 onwards, when consumer buy a drink in a plastic bottle or aluminium can with the Re-turn logo, they will pay a small deposit in addition to the price of the drink. When they return their empty, undamaged drinks container to any participating retail outlet, they get your deposit back in full. A deposit of 15 cents will apply to containers from 150ml to 500mls, while a deposit of 25 cents will apply to containers between 500ml and 3 litres.
Welcoming the launch of the new scheme, Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth said: “We know deposit return schemes work — they operate effectively in over 40 countries around the world, including 15 in Europe, where the average EU collection rate is 92%. By giving these containers a financial value, it incentivises consumers to return them. I think people in Ireland will really get behind this scheme and make it a great success; we saw this with the introduction of the plastic bag levy and the Euro.” He further added: “The Deposit Return Scheme is a once-in-a-generation development for the Irish beverage industry. I want to acknowledge the collaboration and the leadership industry has shown in establishing a complex new system in a relatively short timeframe. I would also like to recognise the smaller businesses who have opted into the scheme. They can be assured of my ongoing support in making the scheme work for local businesses and communities.”
The scheme is operated by Deposit Return Scheme Ireland (DRSI) CLG, trading as Re-turn, who Minister Ossian Smyth appointed in July 2022. DRSI CLG was established by beverage producers and retailers to fulfil their obligations under the Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations 2021.