Guidance on how Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme Works

Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme is now live nationwide.  Re-turn has shared further guidance for consumers on how the Scheme works and how to get your deposit refund.



My drinks container did not have a Re-turn logo on it, but I was still charged a deposit. Why? 


Should consumers be charged a deposit on a drinks container, please be assured that you will get your deposit back when you return it empty and undamaged to Reverse Vending Machine Deposit Return Points nationwide.  



Starting February 1, 2024, retailers have a 4-month transition period during which they can sell both new drinks containers with the Re-turn logo and older drinks containers that do not feature this logo. During this time, drinks containers can incur a deposit in two ways:  


·       By having the Re-turn logo with a registered barcode  

·       By having a barcode that is registered as part of the scheme without the Re-turn logo. 


During the transition period, there will be old drink containers without a logo and with barcode not registered with the scheme; these drinks containers will not incur a deposit charge. 


Any consumer who pays a deposit on a drinks container, with or without a logo, during the transition phase will receive a full refund of the deposit when they return the item clean and undamaged to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide.


If a consumer is in any doubt about whether their container is eligible for a refund on a deposit, they can visit to verify.  



Where can I return my bottle and cans? 


Consumers can return their empty undamaged plastic bottles and cans to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide either through a Reverse Vending Machine or manually, over the counter.


For consumers who have paid a deposit on a plastic bottle or can without the Re-turn logo, these containers must be returned through a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) in participating shops and supermarkets nationwide.  From 1 June, all drinks containers included in the Deposit Return Scheme will feature the Re-turn logo. 


To locate the nearest deposit return point, consumers can visit the Re-turn ‘Where To Return’ map. This map is accessible either by scanning a QR code on Take Back Exemption certificates in stores or supermarkets or by visiting




Do I have to return my drinks containers to the shop where bought?


No. Consumers can return their drinks containers to any participating retailer regardless of where the drinks container was originally purchased.


If returning to an RVM, you must insert all Re-turn drinks containers as instructed and you will then be issued with a voucher which may be redeemed at the till. It is important to note that vouchers issued from an RVM must be redeemed at the same retail outlet. Consumers will also have the choice to receive your refund against a store-bought purchase or in cash.


There is no maximum number of drinks bottles or cans that you can return in one visit.   



What do I do if the Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) is not in service?


When returning plastic bottles and cans, if a consumer finds a Reverse Vending Machine machine is not working or operating properly, please notify the retailer, so the issue can be resolved.



Does this work for self-checkout stations in shops?


Some retailers offer the option to redeem vouchers at self-checkout but please check with your local retailer on what options are available.


How do I use the voucher issued by the RVM?

Consumers must redeem their voucher in the same store as where plastic bottle and cans are returned through the Reverse Vending Machine (RVM). This voucher can be redeemed in cash or against store purchase at the till. 

Why is Ireland launching a 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 and aluminium cans 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 several other European countries. 


Re-turn has created an FAQ page on the website for any questions which consumers may have, and they are strongly encouraged to reach out to if they have any further queries.

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