Ireland implements Deposit Return Scheme w.e.f. February 1 to ramp up aluminium cans recycling

AL Circle

With effect from Thursday, February 1, Ireland has launched the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), a simple incentive system to encourage consumers to recycle aluminium cans and plastic bottles.

Ireland implements Deposit Return Scheme w.e.f. February 1 to ramp up aluminium cans recycling

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So, from February 1, on purchasing an aluminium can or a plastic bottle with the Re-turn logo, customers will have to pay a small deposit over and above the drink’s price. They will get a full refund of the deposit when they return their empty and undamaged containers to any participating retail outlet.

Containers ranging from 150ml to 500ml will require a 15-cent deposit, while containers between 500ml and 3 litres will have a 25-cent deposit. Nearly five million drinks are consumed in single-use containers in Ireland daily.

The Deposit Return Scheme aims to reduce the volume of littered cans and bottles that end up in landfills or incineration.

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure, Ossian Smyth, said: “We know DRS works —it operates effectively in more than 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.”

There will be more than 2000 return points, with both large and mid-sized retailers installing Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) for automated deposit returns. In addition, nearly 200 smaller retailers will handle returns manually over the counter.

Customers will get their refunds through redeemable vouchers or cash refunds. The condition is to deposit cans and bottles without crushing or squeezing them.

DRS is already a proven method of increasing recycling rates in several European countries.

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