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 (15c to 25c) when purchasing a drink in a recyclable bottle or can with the Re-turn logo. This fee will be shown separately on the till receipt. 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.
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!