FAQ on Ireland’s Deposit and Return Scheme from Re-turn

Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme is going live on February 1st, 2024. Re-turn is the designated not-for-profit organisation responsible for administrating Ireland’s Deposit and Return Scheme. It plays a pivotal role in guiding retailers, producers, and consumers through the scheme’s processes and ensuring its effective implementation. You can find the scheme’s FAQ on the official website: https://re-turn.ie/ . There are FAQ sections for consumers, retailers, and producers on the website.


Under the European Union’s Single Use Plastic Directive, by 2025, Ireland is mandated to separately collect 77% of plastic beverage bottles placed on the market. This target rises to 90% in 2029. The Deposit and Return scheme has been introduced to ensure Ireland can reach these targets.


Once live on the 1st of February, consumers will give a fully refundable deposit when purchasing bottles and cans with the Re-turn logo ranging from 15 cent to 25 cent, depending on size – 15c will apply to containers 500mls or less and a deposit of 25c for each container over 500ml to 3 litres. Consumers receive this deposit back when they return the bottle or can to a designated return point. Return points, either manual or Reverse Vending Machines, will be located in the majority of retailers where bottles and cans are purchased.


The new Deposit and Return Scheme is a circular economy game-changer for Ireland, shifting from ‘take, make, dispose’ to returning valuable materials and maximising their use – creating a circular system for high-value plastics and cans.


Currently, only 60–70% of bottles and cans are recycled annually. This is due to several factors, including containers being disposed of in general waste bins, containers being discarded, or ending up in landfills due to contamination in the recycling bin. It is estimated that Ireland consumes 2 billion cans and bottles annually. The missing 30%, which equates to approximately 600 million containers, goes unrecycled.


Deposit return schemes are a proven success in over 40 other jurisdictions around the world, including 13 countries in Europe, soon to be 15, and will help us reach our recycling targets.

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