Supermarket chain Lidl is trialing a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles, which will see customers get vouchers in return.
The company says its reverse vending machine is now being used at its Glenageary store in Dublin, with more to follow.
The machine allows customers to deposit used plastic bottles and aluminium cans in return for money-back vouchers.
These vouchers, of up to €2, can then be used in-store.
Lidl says its reverse vending machines aim to redirect 1,500 tonnes of plastic that will then be manufactured into new products.
Our Deposit Return Scheme Trial launches in Glenageary today! We are excited to announce our reverse vending machines to facilitate the nation’s first Deposit Return Scheme. pic.twitter.com/ZX20c7nD6U
— Lidl Ireland (@lidl_ireland) September 3, 2021
"Although the Deposit Return Scheme is just at our Glenageary store at the moment, this is the beginning of a larger rollout across our stores with hopes to have a nationwide scheme in place by 2023 in line with Government objectives", it says.
The reverse vending machines accept both plastic PET drinks bottles and aluminium cans purchased at Lidl and other retailers.
For every unit deposited, a customer will receive a 10c voucher in return - with a maximum voucher limit of €2.
The machine can collect and process up to 17,000 units a week, which Lidl says will represent around 1,500 tonnes in a year when rolled out to all its 170 stores nationwide.
However this is not Ireland's first foray into reverse vending machines.
Back in 2019, the country's first reverse vending machine began operating in Co Monaghan aimed at encouraging people to recycle their plastic bottles.
This allowed people to bring their bottles for recycling, and gave them out vouchers worth 10c.
While the Government has previously announced plans for a deposit and return scheme for plastic bottles and cans by 2022.
It is hoped the plan, which will see people handed back a deposit for every plastic bottle or aluminium can they recycle, can lift the recycling rate to over 90% in the coming years.