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Here’s everything you need to know about Ireland’s new deposit return scheme

Have you seen a new machine, that’s appearance is similar to that of an ATM, pop up outside our local supermarket? That’s because the Government are launching a new Deposit Return Scheme on February 1st.


What is the deposit return scheme?

It is a scheme that was originally initiated by the Green Party but has been welcomed by people of all political persuasions. After several years of planning it will go live in a matter of weeks.

The scheme details that from the first day of February, all PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150mls and 3 litres will have a deposit of between 15c and 25c added to them.

A 15c deposit will apply to containers in size from 150ml to 500ml inclusive and a deposit of 25c will apply to containers over 500mls to 3 litres inclusive.

Glass bottles, all dairy products (milk cartons and yoghurts etc) and any containers over 3 litres or under 150ml ARE NOT included in the new scheme but these should still be recycled by you as normal.

You’ll know if the bottle or can you’re buying is included in the scheme as it’ll have the new Re-Turn logo on it.  


How will it work?

It will look like some of your favourite items will have had another price hike, but don’t worry you will get the money back as the deposit will be fully refunded when you return your empty, undamaged drinks containers.

For example, a standard 330ml can of Coke that might have cost €1.50 previously will now cost €1.65. A four-pack of 330ml cans of Coke that retails for €4.90 at present will now be €5.50. 

Almost every supermarket and large convenience store in the country will soon have a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) installed where you can get your money back. However, some smaller stores may choose to refund you manually.

It is also important to note that any containers bought pre-February 1st should be recycled as normal in the green bin, as they will not have the logo and therefore not be eligible for return.

The Deposit Return Scheme will launch on February 1st.

 How do I get my deposit back?

1.Make sure your containers are clean and undamaged with the barcode clearly visible. Badly damaged containers won’t be accepted. So resist the urge to crush your cans in particular! 

2.Ensure you’re only bringing back PET plastic bottles or steel and aluminium cans within a certain size. Look for the Re-Turn logo.

Insert your eligible containers into the machine. 

3.The machine will read the barcode on the containers and confirm they’re part of the deposit return scheme.

4.You’ll then be issued with a voucher for the number of containers returned.

5.You can then present this voucher at one of the shop tills to exchange for a cash refund or a store credit.

Your containers can be returned to any store. For example, if you bought something in Tesco or Centra, you can go into Dunnes and use its RVM instead.

However, once you have your voucher, this can only be redeemed at the same store. So, if you use Centra in Crosshaven’s RVM and get a €10 voucher, you must present this at Barry’s Centra Crosshaven to get your money back.


Why is the deposit return scheme being implemented?

The scheme is being introduced for two main reasons.

The first is to improve recycling rates in the country. Ireland has committed to recycle 77% of plastic bottles the end of 2025, and this rises to 90% in 2030. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, we are nowhere near that. This scheme will help us reach our targets.

The second is tackle the problem of litter. At the moment over 30% of plastic bottles and cans in Ireland don’t make it into the green bin and end up on the ground, in the sea or in landfills.

Litter is a problem that affects every town, river and beach in the country. It is hoped that by putting a price on containers, consumers will be less likely to disregard them.

Up to 2 billion aluminium cans and plastic bottles go into the Irish market every year so even a small change in behaviour as a result of the new scheme will have a huge impact.


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