It is estimated that 5 million single-use drinks bottles and cans are consumed every day in Ireland. Drinks containers are typically consumed 'on the go' and are often thrown away in mixed waste or litter, instead of being recycled.
In November of last year, The Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth launched Ireland’s national Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).
The Deposit Return Scheme will boost the recycling rate for these drinks containers – by charging a small, refundable deposit for each plastic bottle or can.  From February 1st, 2024, empty and undamaged bottles or cans with the Re-turn logo can be returned to a participating store, and customers will be issued a voucher that can either be used for a cash refund of the deposit or towards their shopping at the store.
Ella Ryan, Environmental Education Officer with Waterford City and County Council welcomed the initiative saying, “it will encourage us all to return single-use plastic bottles and cans, reduce litter and help protect our environment.”
Ella added, “Throughout Waterford retailers are embracing the scheme and have either installed reverse vending machines (RVMs) or will accept undamaged plastic bottles and aluminium cans over the counter.
“We’re delighted to see such commitment from local businesses and this scheme will lead to huge changes in attitudes towards recycling and help support a circular economy, by moving away from the take-make-dispose linear economy, which is clearly unsustainable.”

Tony Murphy of the popular Centra in John’s Park recently installed two reverse vending machines ahead of the new DRS Scheme launching on February 1st  nationwide.

“This initiative will be crucial in changing our attitudes towards recycling, and keeping our street, parks, beaches litter-free and Centra are happy to lead in this environmental initiative.

“Fully redeemable deposits will be placed on plastic bottles and cans, but once they are returned undamaged to any store, the customer can receive the deposit back for a voucher redeemable in the store it was returned to.”

Tony added, “We intend to make the return process as seamless as possible and have installed the reverse vending machines at the entrance of the shop, so even if the bottle or can hasn’t been purchased in our store, customers can pop in, return, recycle and receive a voucher which can be redeemed for cash or used against the value of their shopping.”

The deposit fee will be 15c for containers from 150ml to 500ml and 25c for containers over 500ml and up to three litres.

To find out more about Ireland’s new Deposit Return Scheme visit