Deposit return scheme: More than 200m containers processed since February start

Re-turn said the upward trend ‘underscores the public’s robust dedication to recycling’

The deposit return scheme allows for aluminium cans to be recycled infinitely while PET plastic bottles can be recycled multiple times. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

More than 200 million plastic and metal containers have been processed since the deposit return scheme began in February with close to three million containers now being returned daily.

Despite a slow start, the scheme appears to have found its legs with well over 50 per cent of all the qualifying containers now being returned and recycled more efficiently.

There were just two million containers returned in the first month, rising to 20 million in March with just under 50 million already processed in June.

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Re-turn said the upward trend “not only underscores the public’s robust dedication to recycling but also highlights the continued growth and success of the scheme”.


It pointed out that by separating plastic and aluminium from general recycling, the quality of the recycled materials jumps to 98 per cent compared with closer to 80 per cent when it goes through the recycling bin system.

The scheme allows for aluminium cans to be recycled infinitely while PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles can be recycled multiple times, reducing the need for virgin materials.

“Since the launch of the deposit return scheme, Irish consumers have shown great support and engagement,” said the chief executive of the Re-Turn scheme, Ciarán Foley.

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He expressed confidence the network of reverse vending machines across the State is “ready to meet new levels of demand” ahead of what is likely to be a busy summer with more bottles and cans being consumed by people on the move.

Earlier this month, Re-turn announced ‘Return for Children’, a charity fundraising initiative with six of Ireland’s national children’s charities – Barnardos Ireland, Barretstown, Childline by ISPCC, Jack & Jill, LauraLynn Children’s Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

It provides attendees at participating events with the option to donate bottle and can deposits at designated Re-turn bins to the six children’s charities.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor