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What to expect from Ireland’s new deposit Re-turn scheme

The new Deposit Return Scheme in Ireland is launching on 1st February 2024. The scheme’s purpose is to incentivise consumers to recycle single use containers, by forcing consumers to pay a deposit fee when purchasing refreshments contained in these materials. The fee is a refundable deposit that consumers can claim back if they return the empty containers to any collection points.

Plastic bottle recycling

The containers included within the scheme are plastic bottles and aluminium or steel drinks containers with a capacity up to 3 litres. The new regulations apply to producers, retailers and consumers of these containers. Operated by Deposit Return Scheme Ireland, trading as Re-turn, producers of containers are required to register with Re-turn and enter into a Membership Agreement ahead of 1st February. 

What is a compulsory deposit fee

When the retailer purchases stock from a producer, they pay the cost of the drink, plus a refundable deposit fee on each unit. When retailers sell the drink to the consumer, they charge the original price plus the deposit, which upon return, has to be refunded to the consumer. In order for the retailer to claim their money back on every refunded deposit, they have to provide the scheme operator with a precise report showing how many bottles/cans were refunded in total. Therefore, the scheme completes a full circle, becoming cost neutral for all businesses involved. 

How much are consumers and retailers expected to pay 

Consumers or retailers purchasing drinks featuring the Re-turn logo will have to pay a refundable deposit on the products. Both retailers and customers will have to pay a deposit fee of 15c for containers between 150ml and 500ml and 25c for containers over 500ml to 3L. Whilst it’s a small amount to pay per unit, retailers may initially notice the increase in price when buying in bulk.

How to claim back the deposit fee

If you’re a consumer, simply return any undamaged, labelled container to a local collection point. Containers can be returned either manually through behind the counter or through a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM). When returning behind the counter, consumers have the choice of receiving their full refund against a store bought purchase or in cash. When returning empty containers through RVMs, the refund will be issued in a voucher which must be redeemed at the same retail outlet. As a retailer, you can claim this fee back by contacting the Deposit Scheme Operator with a full report of collected empty containers, who will pay for all the deposit fees you have refunded.


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