About Us

At present in Ireland, we generate about 800 million single-use beverage bottles and over 1 billion aluminium cans each year, with between 60-70% currently collected for recycling.

What does this mean?

This means that over 30% of drink containers are not collected, and may end up as litter on our streets, countryside, rivers and beaches. Under the Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, by 2025, Ireland must ensure the separate collection of 77% of plastic containers placed on the market, rising to 90& in 2029.

DRSI CLG, trading as Re-turn, is the new system administrator appointed to oversee and manage the operation of the Deposit Return Scheme and will ‘go live’ to the general public on 1 February 2024.

The introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme in Ireland is a simple solution to achieving higher collection rates for containers. There are more than 40 Countries and regions that have successfully introduced the Deposit Return Scheme, with 14 in Europe and Ireland being the 15th Country to implement the scheme.

About Us

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Company Overview

The Re-turn team comprises a group of 30 with extensive experience in business, sustainability, and waste management. They are dedicated to ensuring the success of the Deposit Return Scheme in Ireland, and their expertise will be essential in achieving the scheme’s goals.

Benefits of the Deposit Return Scheme:
  • Increase recycling rates
  • Reduce litter
  • Prevent Waste
  • Lower emissions
  • Relieve pressure on natural resources

* The Average collection rate of established EU schemes is over 90%.

Company Overview

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Mission Statement

The Deposit Return Scheme Ireland (DRSI) is committed to creating a sustainable and circular economy by implementing an effective and efficient system for the collection, recycling, and recovery of beverage containers. Our mission is to reduce litter, conserve resources, and minimise environmental impact through the promotion of responsible consumption and waste management of plastic and PET containers in Ireland.  

Mission Statement

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Eligible Containers for Deposit Return

Most drinks containers made of plastic, aluminium or steel between 150ml and 3 litres will be included in the Deposit Return Scheme.

  • 150ml – 500ml +15c
  • Over 500ml – 3L +25c

All eligible containers will display the Re-turn logo making identification easy for consumers.

Not every drinks container is eligible. There are exceptions such as milk or other dairy-based products that won’t have a deposit logo but should still be recycled.

Eligible Containers for Deposit Return

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Deposit Return Schemes in Europe

There are more than 40 countries and regions that have successfully introduced the Deposit Return Scheme, with 14 in Europe and many more being implemented. Ireland will be the 15th Country to implement the Deposit Return Scheme on 1 February 2024.  

Deposit Return Schemes in Europe

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Board of directors

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FAQ's

When does the Deposit Return Scheme start?

The Deposit Return Scheme will go live on 1 February, 2024.

Are Retailers obliged to have a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) to take back empty ‘in scope’ containers?

Retailers may opt for either manual return or for automatic collection, through Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs). Retailers have the choice of whether they opt for a reverse vending machine or not. It is not compulsory for any retailer to have a reverse vending machine.

Can I return drinks containers bought before the 1st of February 2024?

Drinks purchased before 1 February, 2024 are not included in the Deposit Return Scheme but should still be recycled. From 1 February, 2024, when you purchase an ‘in scope’ drinks container, you will be charged a small deposit in addition to the purchase price of the drink. This deposit will be fully refunded when you return your empty, undamaged drinks container.

How much is the deposit fee?

From 1 February, 2024, when you buy a drink featuring the Re-turn logo, you will be charged a small deposit in addition to the price of the drink. The drinks containers included in the Scheme are PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150mls and 3 litres. A deposit of 15c will apply to containers from 150ml to 500ml inclusive  and a deposit of 25c for containers over 500mls to 3 litres inclusive.

How do I get my deposit back?

From 1 February, 2024, when you purchase a drink featuring the Re-turn logo and pay your deposit fee, you will get a full refund on returning the empty, undamaged container to any retail outlet that sells drinks with the Re-turn logo.

Consumers may return containers to a retailer that takes them back over the counter (manual), or through the use of a a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM). If returning to an RVM, you must insert all Re-turn drinks containers as instructed and you will then be issued with a voucher which may be redeemed at the till. *It is important to note that vouchers issued from an RVM must be redeemed at the same retail outlet.

Do I have a choice on how my deposit is refunded?

You will have the choice to receive your refund against a store bought purchase, in cash or to put your refunded deposit towards a charitable cause.

How do I use a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM)?

All Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) will have clear instructions on how drinks containers featuring the Re-turn logo are to be inserted into the machine. When containers are inserted, the machine reads the containers, confirms they are part of the Deposit Return Scheme, and then issues a voucher for the amount of containers returned. Consumers may then present this voucher at the till for full refund or against store purchase.

*It is important to note that vouchers issued from an RVM must be redeemed at the same retail outlet.

Why are there different deposit fees for different containers?

The variable deposit fees reflect the size of the drinks containers and is reflective of the value of the material. The larger the container, the more valuable the plastic and aluminium for recycling purposes.

The drinks containers included in the Scheme are PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150mls and 3 litres. A deposit of 15c will apply to containers 500mls or less and a deposit of 25c for each container from 500ml to 3 litres.

Why are we moving from putting bottles & cans in the green bin to Deposit Return?

To date, over 60% of plastic bottles and cans are being collected for recycling through green bins, which means that over 30% are not collected, leading to increased littering.

By placing a value on the drinks containers, we are incentivising consumers to return their bottles and cans in order to get their deposit back and discourage littering. The Deposit Return Scheme is a circular economy initiative that aims to create a closed loop recycling system guaranteeing the material is returned and recycled into new drinks containers.

In addition, with the separate collection of drinks containers, there is no cross contamination and a higher quality of recyclate is collected, which is more efficient.

What drinks containers can I return?

PET plastic drinks containers, steel and aluminum cans between 150ml and 3 litres that show the Re-turn logo are accepted. They will need to be empty, undamaged and the barcode needs to be clearly legible. Remember, all drink containers included in the scheme will feature the Re-turn logo.

Not all drinks containers are eligible for Deposit Return. No dairy products are included in the Scheme. Eg. Milk, yogurt drinks. These containers will not  have a Re-turn logo, but should still be recycled.

Do I have to remove the lid when returning my plastic bottle?

You can return your empty, undamaged plastic bottle with or without the lid. We recommend returning bottles with caps, because this will ensure that the cap is recycled, too. Also, if the bottle cap is still on, it is easier to preserve the shape of the bottle.

Why doesn’t the Deposit Return Scheme include glass?

Currently, Ireland has a recycling rate of over 80% for glass and is surpassing recycling targets for this material. As a result, there are no plans to include glass in the Scheme but this may be open to change in the future.

What will happen to the drink containers once they have been collected?

All containers collected will be sent for recycling. The Deposit Return Scheme focuses on maximising the volume and quality of material collected for recycling.

Who is responsible for delivering the scheme?

DRSI CLG, trading as Re-turn, is a new company limited by guarantee and was established by beverage producers and retailers in order to fulfil their obligations under the Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations 2021.

The new Scheme brings together all parties involved in the manufacture, selling and consumption of beverages and has proved very successful internationally in increasing collection rates.

Who is funding the Deposit Return Scheme?

The management and operation of the Deposit Return Scheme does not cost the public or government any money at all. The system is funded through producer fees for each product placed on the market.

How do I use a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM)?

Each RVM will provide a clear set of instructions on how to return your bottles and cans. Instructions will also be displayed on screen.

What can I do if an RVM is malfunctioning?

Notify the Retailer of RVM malfunction and if the Retailer is unable to resolve the issue, you will be able to return your empty drinks containers over the counter.

Have a different question?

Contact us via email: info@re-turn.ie

Or give us a call on 01 461 8680

Do all beverage producers need to register with the Deposit Return Scheme?

Yes- If you produce/manufacture drinks, import them or sell them online, you have a key role to play in the new Deposit Return Scheme and  must  register with Re-turn in order to fulfil your environmental and legislative responsibilities.

Are Retailers obliged to have a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) to take back empty 'in scope' containers?

Retailers may opt for either manual return or for automatic collection, through Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs). Retailers have the choice of whether they opt for a reverse vending machine or not. It is not compulsory for any retailer to have a reverse vending machine.

I import drinks for sale on the Irish market, do I need to register with Re-turn?

Yes, Ireland’s DRS Legislation defines a ‘Producer’ as any person, irrespective of the selling technique used, who is first to place in-scope products on the market in the Republic of Ireland.

How and when can Producers register details of 'in scope' drinks products for the Deposit Return Scheme? 

Phase 1 of Registration is now live and Producers are legally obliged to register with the Scheme. On completion of registration and signing of Membership Agreement, Producers will then be required to register all ‘in scope’ products on the Re-turn website from August 1 to late October, 2023, ready for go live in February 2024.

What if I stop producing a product?

You will need to notify Re-turn and remove the product from your registration list.

What is the process when Producers want to introduce new products  onto the market or change an existing product ? 

The registration of new products or changes to existing products and their specifications must be submitted to Re-turn for approval. Sample containers may be required for review by Re-turn.

Are Producers allowed to sell ‘in scope’ products that do not feature the Re-turn logo after 1 February 2024?

No.  All ‘in scope’ products must feature the Re-turn logo and meet the technical and labelling requirements as set out in the Re-turn Technical Specification and Labelling manual.

How is the producer fee calculated?

A Producer Fee will be charged on each unit placed on the ROI market and is based on the net cost principle.

The rate will vary for different materials but will be consistent regardless of the size of the container.​  Details of Producer Fees will be available in December 2022.​

Have a different question?

Contact us via email: info@re-turn.ie

Or give us a call on 01 461 8680

Why Now ?

We are all aware that we need to tackle climate change and transition to a circular economy, whereby we move away from the ‘take, make and dispose culture’ to one of keeping materials in circulation for as long as possible and valuing our limited resources.

Under the SUP Directive, Ireland must ensure the separate collection of 77% of plastic beverage bottles placed on the market by 2025, rising to 90% in 2029.

Deposit Return Schemes are a proven success in over 40 other jurisdictions around the world, including 12 in Europe (and Malta just launched), and will help us reach those recycling targets and deliver significant environmental benefits.

Has the Deposit Return Scheme started already?

The new national Deposit Return Scheme, Re-turn will ‘go live’ in February 2024. There are NO DEPOSIT RETURN PILOT SCHEMES in operation in Ireland at present, as no-one is required to pay a deposit for their bottles and cans.

There are reverse vending machines in place in some retail outlets, encouraging consumers to place their bottles and cans in the machines for charitable purposes or against in-store purchase. They are not part of the Re-turn Scheme and again, a Scheme will not ‘go live’ for consumers until February 2024

Do I have to accept returns of all in scope drinks containers?

Yes. All registered Retailers will be required to accept Re-turn drinks containers regardless of where they were purchased or where the deposit was paid. Retailers will receive a Handling Fee for all containers they take back.

Do all Retailers have to register with the Deposit Return Scheme?

Yes. All Retailers that sell ‘in scope’ drinks – PET plastic bottles, aluminium/steel cans from 150ml to 3 litres – must register with Re-turn in order to fulfil their environmental and legislative responsibilities. Initial registration will open in late November 2022 and all Retailers will be provided with timelines to complete their registration.

Do Retailers have to buy a Reverse Vending Machine?

No. Retailers may opt to take back drink containers either through manual return (over the counter) or by automatic collection (Reverse Vending Machines – RVM) Retailers have the choice of whether they opt for a reverse vending machine or not and may purchase or lease a machine.

Do beverage manufacturers need to change their beverage labelling/barcodes? 

Yes  – All ‘in scope’ beverage containers must feature the Re-turn symbol and a new national (or international) barcode. All producers must comply with the labelling guidelines as set out in the Technical Specifications and Labelling Manual provided by Re-turn.

Why doesn’t the Deposit Return Scheme include glass?

Currently, Ireland has a recycling rate of over 80% for glass and is surpassing recycling targets for this material. As a result, there are no plans to include glass in the Scheme but this may be open to change in the future.

Do all Retailers have to register with the Deposit Return Scheme?

Yes. All Retailers that sell ‘in scope’ drinks – PET plastic bottles, aluminium/steel cans from 150ml to 3 litres – must register with Re-turn in order to fulfil their environmental and legislative responsibilities. Initial registration will open in late November 2022 and all Retailers will be provided with timelines to complete their registration.

What beverage containers are included in the Deposit Return Scheme?

PET plastic bottles and aluminium or steel cans  between 150ml and 3 litres are included in the Deposit Return Scheme. All eligible containers will display the Re-turn logo making identification easy for consumers and retailers accepting manual returns.

How does the deposit fee work?

When the Retailer purchases in scope drinks from the Producer, they pay the cost of the drink plus a deposit fee on each unit. Retailers then sell the drink to the consumer and charge the cost of the drink plus the deposit fee. When the consumer finishes the beverage, they will return the empty,  undamaged drinks container to the retailer and receive a full refund on their deposit fee. The Deposit Scheme Operator pays the retailer for all refunded deposit fees. Therefore, the deposit fee goes full circle and is cost neutral for all involved.

Do I have to accept returns of all in scope drinks containers?

Yes. All registered Retailers will be required to accept Re-turn drinks containers regardless of where they were purchased or where the deposit was paid. Retailers will receive a Handling Fee for all containers they take back.

Are Retailers obliged to have a Reverse Vending Machine to take back empty 'in scope' containers?

Retailers may opt for either manual return or for automatic collection, through Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs). Retailers have the choice of whether they opt for a reverse vending machine or not. It is not compulsory for any retailer to have a reverse vending machine.

Are Retailers compensated for accepting Deposit Return containers?

All Retailers are paid a ‘Handling Fee’  which ensures that the Deposit Return Scheme is cost neutral for them. It covers the associated costs of accepting and sorting drinks containers in the retail environment.  The handling fee will be the same for plastic bottles and cans but will vary according to whether containers are collected manually or through a reverse vending machine.

Can retailers offer consumers the option to use the Deposit Fee refund for in-store purchase or donation to charity instead of a cash refund?

The Consumer will have the choice to use their refunded Deposit Fee against a store bought purchase, receive in cash or put towards a charitable cause.

How do I accept Deposit Return drinks containers?

A Retailer will have two options when offering a take-back service for the empty beverage containers returned by consumers:

Manual collection or

Automatic collection through a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM)

The volume of sales (and expected returns) of beverage containers is a key driver in determining whether a Retailer should rely on manual collection or opt for automatic collection via RVMs.

How do manual returns work?

Consumers return the drinks container over the counter to the Retailer. The Retailer checks that the drinks container is empty, undamaged, features the Re-turn logo and that the barcode is clearly visible. The Consumer is then reimbursed the value of the Deposit. Re-turn reimburses the Retailer for all validated manual returns collected.

How should the accepted drinks containers be sorted and where should it be stored?

Manual collections will be stored in a barcoded bag provided by Re-turn, stored on premise until the collection driver arrives and scans the bag.
RVMs must be emptied when full. The barcoded bag must be sealed and stored on premise until the collection driver arrives who will scan the bag.
All bags and tags for use in both methods will be provided by Re-turn and storage options will be at the discretion of the retailer.

How often are the bags of empty drinks containers removed?

Manual and Automatic collection of material will operate 5-7 days a week. For larger Retailers, this may require a daily visit to collect material, while retailers operating manual returns may have collections twice per week, depending on volume.

Have a different question?

Contact us via email: info@re-turn.ie

Or give us a call on 01 461 8680