People will be able to return plastic bottles and cans for money from next month as Ireland's new Deposit Re-turn Scheme goes live.
From February 1st, when consumers purchase a drink that features the Re-turn logo, they will pay a refundable deposit as well as the price of the drink.
Multinational drinks companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are included in the scheme and will be updating their labels and packaging from next month.
We're taking a deep dive into how the scheme will work to answer some of your questions.
When will I pay?
People will pay a fully refundable deposit in addition to the price of the product when they purchase a drink.
When finished, you can return the empty, undamaged container to any participating shop or supermarket nationwide.
There will be some stock of plastic bottles and cans without the Re-turn logo for a limited period after February 1st. These can be placed in recycling bins as normal.
What will I pay?
A deposit of 15 cents will apply to each container from 150ml to 500mls, and a deposit of 25 cents for containers over 500ml to three litres.
From 1 February, you’ll pay a small deposit when you buy your drink in a plastic bottle or can featuring the Re-turn logo. Once you bring your empty and undamaged drink container back to participating shops or supermarkets nationwide, you’ll get your full deposit back - it’s that… pic.twitter.com/iQaMVVucIq
— Re-turn (@returnireland) January 8, 2024
Where can I return my bottles and cans?
Most retailers across the country have set up deposit return points.
You can return empty plastic bottles and cans to participating shops either through a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) or manually over the counter.
A map will also be live from February 1st on the Re-turn website showing where to find deposit return points.
How will I get my deposit back?
If it is through a reverse vending machine, consumers will be issued a voucher that can be redeemed at the till against store purchases or as a cash refund.
If over the counter, retailers must check the drinks container features the Re-turn logo and is undamaged and then provide a refund.
Refunds cannot be made to debit or credit cards.
Consumers are also advised not to crush or squeeze the plastic bottles and cans.
When can I return my cans and bottles?
From the beginning of February, this scheme will be live.
Re-turn is asking consumers not to store drinks containers before the scheme goes live as these will not have the Re-turn logo and are therefore ineligible for any refund.
Can I still use my own recycling bins to dispose them?
While all consumers should use their recycling bins for mixed dry recyclables, Re-turn is asking that consumers return plastic bottles and cans to local participating shops and supermarkets.
"The separate collection of these plastic bottles and cans guarantees a high-quality recycled material is returned and recycled and there is no cross contamination," Re-turn has said.
"The introduction of deposit return is a proven method of increasing recycling rates, with great success in a number of other European countries."
What is not included in the scheme?
Only drinks containers in PET plastic bottles, aluminium and steel cans from 150ml to three litres are included.
All containers included in the scheme will feature the Re-turn logo.
Items that are not included in the scheme include:
- Any dairy drinks products in plastic containers or cartons e.g. milk, yogurt drinks
- Steel and tin cans that contain foodstuffs
- Containers for cleaning supplies
These items should continue to be disposed of in a recycling bin.
Glass drinks containers are also not included in the scheme and should be recycled as usual.
Why is Ireland launching the scheme?
The EU has set Ireland a target to separate and collect 77% of plastic beverage bottles by 2025.
This target will rise to 90% in 2029.
We currently recycle between 60% to 70% of drinks containers.
Re-turn has created a Q&A page on its website for any questions consumers may have.