Ireland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), commencing 1 February, will see consumers paying a deposit of either 15 or 25 cents on any single-use PET plastic bottle or aluminium/steel cans, depending on its size.
Once the consumer returns their empty container for recycling, the deposit will be refunded either via participating retailers or reverse vending machines.
The DRS administrator, Re-Turn, have released communications guidance ahead of the 1 February launch. It includes key information on the benefits of the DRS, what containers can be returned, and how and where to return them.
Re-Turn have said the majority of the nation’s retailers have registered and infrastructure is in place for the scheme’s commencement next month. Ireland is obliged to establish a DRS under the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive, which mandates a 77% separate collection target for plastic bottles by 2025, rising to 90% by 2029.
Who is affected?
Businesses selling in-scope containers in Ireland have a number of obligations under the DRS. These include registering containers placed on the market with Re-Turn before sale, and also pay a ‘producer fee’ that covers the logistical, data, and awareness raising costs incurred by the scheme.
Equally, registered retailers must accept any empty, undamaged container bearing the ‘Re-Turn’ DRS label from consumers and redeem their deposit, regardless of where the drink was purchased. Alongside keeping transactional records they must also safely store the containers until they are collected for recycling.
A DRS in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland is expected to be operational by October 2025. To what extent they align between nations, such as the value of the deposit, will depend on decisions made by the yet to be established Deposit Management Organisation.
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