A Deposit Return Scheme to encourage people to recycle their drinks bottles and cans is to begin operating in February 2024 – some stores may trial it before then. The sales price will include a deposit which will be refunded when customers return the container to a retailer or other collection point to be recycled. The deposit is set to be 15 cents for cans or bottles of up to 500ml and 25 cents above 500ml.
Around 1.9 billion drinks in bottles and cans are consumed in Ireland every year. The bottles and cans will be accepted at any relevant shop, not just where the drinks were purchased. Options on return machines will include choosing to spend the money in the shop, receiving cash, or donating to charity. Shops and retailers need to register for the scheme, which is designed to be cost neutral – participating shops will retain a small fee.
The scheme will be operated by Deposit Return Scheme Ireland CLG, trading as Re-turn. The move was required to help Ireland meet the EU Single Use Plastics Directive, under which there is a recycling target of 90% of plastic bottles by 2029. Only drinks in PET plastic bottles, aluminium & steel cans from 150ml to 3 litres are included in the Scheme. All drink containers included in the scheme will feature the Re-turn logo.
Full details can be found on the website re-turn.ie.