Deposit Return Scheme

What is the Deposit Return Scheme?

When you buy a drink in a container with the Re-turn logo you are charged a small refundable deposit. You can then claim back the levy by returning the empty container.

This is a new bottle and can recycling system and is known as the Deposit Return Scheme. The scheme began on 1 February 2024.

The cost of the deposit is automatically added to the cost of the drink.

You can get your deposit by returning your containers as long as they are empty and undamaged.

What containers can be recycled?

Most drinks containers such as bottles, cans and tins made from plastic, aluminium or steel can be returned once they are between 150ml and 3 litres in size and have the Re-turn logo on them.

The containers should be empty, undamaged and in their original shape. The barcode must also be readable.

What containers are not included in the recycling scheme?

Some containers are not included in the scheme and can’t be returned, including:

  • Glass bottles or containers
  • All dairy products (for example, milk or yogurt containers)
  • Containers over 3 litres

You will not be able to return drinks containers which were bought before 1 February 2024 as these will not have the Re-turn logo or a barcode registered as part of the scheme.

In most cases, if your container doesn’t have the Re-turn logo on it, you can’t return it and it should be recycled as normal.

However, until 1 June 2024, containers that do not have a Re-turn logo but have a barcode that is registered as part of the scheme are included.

For more information on this, see our section below 'My container didn't have a logo, but I was charged a deposit'.

Should I leave the bottle cap on when returning my bottle?

You can return your bottles with or without the bottle cap. However, it is recommended that you leave the bottle cap on. This will ensure that:

  • The bottle cap is properly recycled
  • The bottle holds its shape, making it easier for the machine to read the barcode

How much does the deposit cost?

The deposit costs between 15-25 cent depending on the size of the container.

  • Containers between 150ml to 500ml have a 15 cent deposit
  • Containers over 500ml to 3 litres have a 25 cent deposit

Where can I return my containers?

You can return your containers to shops that sell drink containers with the Re-turn logo. You don't need to return your containers to the same shop that you bought them from.

At the shops you can either return the containers:

  • Using a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM)
  • Manually in the shop

Not all shops will have a Reverse Vending Machine.

If a shop does not have a RVM but they sell containers with the Re-turn logo, the shop may allow you to manually return containers in store, unless they have a take back exemption, see below. has an interactive map, which shows you all the locations where you can return your containers. You can also search by entering an address or Eircode. Find the map and other information about where to return your containers on the Re-turn website.

Take back exemptions

Certain businesses can get a take back exemption, for example, retail outlets with less than 250 square metres of customer-facing space. Re-turn have more information about take back exemptions (pdf) and what shops can apply for them.

How do I collect my deposit?

If you are using a Reverse Vending Machine, you will be given a voucher for the value of the deposit on the number of containers you returned. You can choose to use your voucher to buy something in that specific shop or to refund your voucher for cash.

If you returned your items using an RVM, you can only use or refund your voucher in that same shop where you returned the bottles. You cannot reclaim your voucher in a store if you used a RVM from a different store.

My container didn't have a logo, but I was charged a deposit

There is a transition period for retailers from 1 February 2024 to 1 June 2024. During this transition period, shops can sell new containers with the Re-turn logo and older containers which don’t have the logo.

During this time, you will be charged a deposit if the container has:

  • A Re-turn logo and a barcode that is registered as part of the scheme
  • No logo but has a barcode that is registered as part of the scheme

This means that if you are charged a deposit for a container, you will be able to claim it back even if the container does not have a Re-turn logo.

During the transition period, older containers which don’t have a Re-turn logo or a registered barcode will also be available. You will not be charged a deposit for these containers and can recycle them at home in your green bin.

From 1 June 2024, all drinks containers included in the scheme will have a Re-turn logo and registered barcode.

If you're not sure if your container is included in the scheme, you can use Re-turn's barcode checker.

What happens if I buy a drink in a restaurant or café?

Some restaurants and cafés may charge you a deposit fee if you buy a drink that comes in a container.

Generally, sit-down restaurants and other businesses that focus on on-site consumption will not charge you a deposit fee. This is because they can collect and return the drink containers themselves.

Take-aways and other businesses that focus on off-site consumption, will generally charge you a deposit fee. This is because you will usually take the container away with you.

More information on the Deposit Return Scheme

For more information on this scheme and how it works, you can visit the Re-turn website.

Page edited: 14 March 2024