The Deposit Return Scheme will be introduced in Ireland in February 2024.
How does it work?
A deposit return scheme is a recycling initiative that encourages consumers to return empty beverage containers, such as plastic bottles and aluminium cans, to designated collection points in exchange for a monetary deposit refund.
Under the scheme in Ireland, consumers will be charged a deposit fee when purchasing a drink in a recyclable bottle or can with the Re-turn logo. Containers from 150ml to 500ml will have a fee of 15c, and containers over 500mls to 3 litres will have a 25c deposit.
The deposit is then refunded in full when the empty container is returned to any retail store, either at a designated machine or over the counter. Consumers will have the choice to receive the refund against a store purchase or in cash.
The containers will be regularly collected from retail outlets by a waste operator and brought to a recycling facility.
What is the purpose?
The goal of the Deposit Return Scheme is to financially incentivise consumers to recycle bottles and cans, which may otherwise contribute to street litter or non-recyclable waste streams. It is a circular economy initiative with a purpose to reduce litter, prevent waste and keep materials in our economy for as long as possible through recycling.
Will it work?
We cannot predict how successful the scheme will be in Ireland. However, similar schemes have proven to be effective in over 40 countries worldwide. Germany, for example, were the first European country to implement a return scheme 20 years ago. It is now the most successful in the world with a 98% return rate!