Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme is now live

2:23 min Sorting and collection
Dublin, Ireland

Minister Smyth welcomes the launch of the new scheme, which will reduce litter and boost Ireland’s recycling rates. The Deposit Return Scheme — a new, nationwide money-back scheme for plastic drinks bottles and aluminium cans — is being rolled out from Thursday, 1 February. The scheme incentivises people to return used drinks containers so that they can be successfully recycled into new containers.

The Deposit Return Scheme is a key commitment of the Programme for Government 2020, and is a fundamental building block of a circular economy. About 5 million drinks are consumed in single-use containers in Ireland each day. As well as boosting recycling rates, the Deposit Return Scheme will significantly reduce the number of bottles and cans being littered or sent to landfill or incineration.

From today, 1 February 2024, when you buy a drink in a plastic bottle or aluminium can with the Re-turn logo, you will pay a small deposit in addition to the price of the drink. When you return your empty, undamaged drinks container to any participating retail outlet, you get your deposit back in full. A deposit of 15 cents will apply to containers from 150ml to 500mls, while a deposit of 25 cents will apply to containers between 500ml and 3 litres.

Welcoming the launch of the new scheme, Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth said:

"I am delighted to launch our national Deposit Return Scheme today. This is an exciting, new initiative which will boost recycling rates, greatly reduce litter, and improve the environment. It will get bottles and cans off our roadsides and beaches and contribute to the circular economy by turning waste drinks containers into new bottles and cans.

"We know deposit return schemes work — they operate effectively in over 40 countries around the world, including 15 in Europe, where the average EU collection rate is 92%. By giving these containers a financial value, it incentivises consumers to return them. I think people in Ireland will really get behind this scheme and make it a great success; we saw this with the introduction of the plastic bag levy and the Euro.

Tomra November

"The Deposit Return Scheme is a once-in-a-generation development for the Irish beverage industry. I want to acknowledge the collaboration and the leadership industry has shown in establishing a complex new system in a relatively short timeframe. I would also like to recognise the smaller businesses who have opted into the scheme. They can be assured of my ongoing support in making the scheme work for local businesses and communities."

The scheme is operated by Deposit Return Scheme Ireland (DRSI) CLG, trading as Re-turn, who Minister Ossian Smyth appointed in July 2022. DRSI CLG was established by beverage producers and retailers to fulfil their obligations under the Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations 2021.

Ciaran Foley, CEO of Re-turn, said:

"We're delighted to launch Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme, Re-turn. Today represents the introduction of one of the most significant and transformative circular economy projects in our recent history. I would like to extend our sincere thanks to both Ireland’s retailers and producers for their invaluable collaboration during this process, as without their cooperation, this wouldn’t have been possible.

"The introduction of this scheme brings numerous exciting benefits to Ireland — it increases recycling rates, reduces litter, lowers emissions, prevents waste, and eases the strain on our natural resources. The separate collection of these plastic bottles and cans guarantees that high-quality recyclate material is returned and recycled and there is no cross contamination. The introduction of Deposit Return is a proven method of increasing recycling rates, with great success in a number of other European countries. This is a positive step towards a cleaner and more sustainable Ireland. We encourage consumers to reach out to Re-turn with any questions they may have. Together, we're going to make a significant impact on our environment.”

More information on the Deposit Return Scheme, including an FAQ, can be found on the Re-turn website at

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