(Photo credit: TOMRA)


Ireland kicks off new deposit return scheme for drink container recycling on 1 February

1:38 min Sorting and collection
Asker, Norway

Ireland will launch a new deposit return system (DRS) for drink container recycling tomorrow on 1 February, to boost recycling rates, tackle litter and drive a circular economy. Approximately 1.9 billion drink cans and bottles are consumed  annually in Ireland, with over 30% going unrecycled.

Ireland’s launch comes at a time of unprecedented activity in deposit return implementation around the world, with the three months since 1 November 2023 seeing four new DRSs launching (Victoria, Romania, Hungary and Ireland) and seven existing DRSs expanding (California, Germany, Connecticut, Austria, Quebec, Greenland and Queensland). The United Kingdom’s deposit return system is set to commence in 2025. 

The new deposit return system in Ireland covers all drinks (excluding dairy) in cans and PET bottles, ranging from 0.15 to 3 liters. Consumers pay a deposit of €0.15 for containers 0.15 to 0.5 liters in size, and €0.25 for those over 0.5 liters. This deposit is refunded when consumers return the empty can or bottle to any retailer that sells beverages – making recycling part of existing shopping routines, and ensuring a broad and convenient network of return points. Irish retailers can choose to handle container returns manually or automate collection through a reverse vending machine (RVM). 

TOMRA Collection in Ireland provides RVM infrastructure, and advises retailers on DRS requirements and the most suitable RVMs based on store needs. TOMRA Collection established a local office in Ireland in January 2023 and today has an organization of 28 people. 

“Ireland is positioned as a regional leader as the first country out of England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland to embrace deposit return, a proven method for boosting drink container collection that has achieved return rates of up to 98% in other countries. Today’s launch is a milestone for the country in transforming waste management to reduce litter and maximize the quantity and quality of materials collected for recycling.” said Truls Haug, Head of TOMRA Collection United Kingdom & Ireland.

Tomra November

TOMRA has over 50 years’ experience working in deposit return systems around the world, across all parts of the value chain. TOMRA’s approximately 82,000 reverse vending machines, in over 60 markets, collect more than 45 billion drink containers for recycling each year.

As a circular economy initiative, Ireland’s DRS seeks to build a closed-loop system to ensure that drink containers can be recycled into new containers again and again. The separate return of drink containers reduces exposure to other kinds of waste, to ensure the quality and purity of collected material streams. The new DRS also strives to achieve the targets of the European Union’s Single-Use Plastics Directive, which requires member states to separately collect 90% of plastic drink containers for recycling by 2029.

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