The Deposit Return Scheme – Everything You Need To Know


What is the Deposit Return Scheme?


The Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) has long been an objective of the Green Party and after several years of planning is now finally ready to go live. The idea behind this scheme is to incentivise consumers to recycle single use containers.  

From the 1st of February 2024, under the ‘Deposit Return Scheme’ (DRS), all PET plastic bottles and aluminium and steel cans between 150mls and 3 litres will have a deposit of between 15c and 25c added to them.

A 15c deposit will apply to containers in size from 150ml to 500ml inclusive and a deposit of 25c will apply to containers over 500mls to 3 litres inclusive.

Excluded from the scheme are glass bottles, all dairy products (such as milk cartons and yogurts), and any containers over 3 liters, or under 150ml ARE NOT included in the new scheme however these should still be recycled by you as normal. 

You’ll know if the bottle or can you are buying is included in the scheme as it’ll have the new ‘Re-Turn’ logo on it.  


Why is the Deposit Return Scheme being Implemented?

The implementation of this scheme is driven by two primary objectives. 

Firstly, it aims to boost recycling rates, with the EU mandating Ireland to achieve 77% recycling of plastic bottles by 2025, escalating to 90% by 2030. The current recycling rates, as per the Environmental Protection Agency, fall significantly short of these targets.

Secondly, the scheme seeks to combat litter, addressing the prevalent issue of plastic bottles and cans littering the countryside, water bodies, and public spaces after events.

By assigning a monetary value to containers, the scheme aspires to discourage their disposal, following the precedent set by similar programs in other European countries, including Ireland’s historical glass bottle scheme in the ’70s.

Considering that approximately 2 billion aluminum cans and plastic bottles enter the Irish market annually, even a subtle shift in behavior resulting from this scheme is poised to have a substantial impact on waste reduction and environmental conservation.


Guidance for the consumer

From the 1st of February onwards, drinks in plastic bottles and cans with the Re-turn logo will start to appear in shops and supermarkets nationwide. These drinks containers will require the purchaser to pay a fully refundable deposit in addition to the price of the product. When finished your drink, you can return your empty undamaged container to any participating shop or supermarket nationwide.

To prevent waste, for a limited period, from the 1st of February there will be some stock of plastic bottles and cans without the Re-urn logo. As consumers will not have paid a deposit on these plastic bottles and cans, they can be placed in recycling bins.

What will I pay?

A deposit of 15 cents will apply to each container from 150ml – 500mls and a deposit of 25 cents for containers over 500ml to 3 litres.

Where can I return my bottle and cans?

The majority of retailers across the country have now registered for the Deposit Return Scheme and have set up their deposit return points. Consumers can return their empty undamaged plastic bottles and cans to participating shops and supermarkets nationwide. either through a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) or manually, over the counter.

For more consumer information click HERE


Guidance for the retailer

From the 1st of February onwards, If you sell ‘in-scope’ drinks containers on your premises, for take away, or online, you must register with Re-turn. All Retailers, unless granted a Take Back Exemption, are legally obliged to provide a Take Back/ Deposit Return service for consumers and play a key role in the Deposit Return Scheme nationwide.

Retailer Obligations

Ensure you are only selling drinks containers from Producers registered with the Deposit Return Scheme operator, Re-turn.

Accept all ‘in scope’ empty, undamaged drinks containers featuring the Re-turn logo, regardless of where they were purchased. Provide a full deposit refund to the consumer.

Ensure that the facility for taking back Re-turn bottles and containers on your premises is clearly visible and easily accessible for consumers.

Ensure that the payment of the deposit is itemised on the proof of payment and displayed clearly as a separate charge from the product price.

Provide storage for Re-turn drinks containers and agree method and frequency of collection with Deposit Return Scheme Operator, Re-turn.

Clearly display information on how to redeem the deposit in-store. Retailers should also clearly display their certificate of registration with Re-turn.


To Register

Re-turn is encouraging all Retailers to do a final checklist in preparation for going live for the Deposit Return Scheme on the 1st of February. This applies to all Retailers regardless of whether they have been granted a ‘Take Back Exemption’.

To access the ‘Retailer Journey Guide’, which details all steps involved in registration, please click here.

For a step-by-step guide on Take Back Exemptions, premises registration, collection details, and financial details please click here. 

To view the ‘Retailer Need to Know’ Guide, please click here.


How can Herbst Software help?

Herbst software seamlessly integrates and automates with the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), ensuring that your business operations remain streamlined with enhanced operational efficiency. Our solution is designed to automatically calculate and apply the additional DRS charge for specific products. The implementation process varies depending on your business process; for manufacturing, charges are applied when creating an invoice, while for POS transactions, the DRS is applied at the end. The module pricing includes Remote Professional services to assist with implementation and form design for invoices (direct and standard), statements, and credit notes.

If you would like to automate your returns, give Herbst a call now:

+353 (0)1 450 9329

or email


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