Re-Turn Replaces Some Deposit Return Scheme Machines

A small number of retailers have had to replace reverse vending machines used for the Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles and drink cans.

Re-turn, the company that rolled out and administers the recycling scheme, said the number of machines changed amounts to less than 1% – seven machines in total.

In a statement to RTÉ News, Re-turn said it was working closely with suppliers of reverse vending machines (RVMs) and retailers to resolve issues relating to efficient operation of the machines and it was aware technical issues had impacted early reliability.

It said these issues have now been addressed and reliability has improved across the network.

However, it added, a number of retailers decided to switch RVMs to an alternative manufacturer.

The statement comes as some consumers have complained machines were not working when they tried to return bottles and cans and collect their deposits.

Re-turn said the number of drinks containers being processed is increasing steadily and reached 2.39 million on Tuesday, compared with two million items processed for the entire month of February, the first month of the scheme’s operation.

It said there are now 2,300 RVMs in the country, up 500 since the schemes launch.

In March, 20 million items were returned and in April 50 million plastic bottles and drinks cans were returned.

The company maintains it is too early to say what percentage of drinks containers – on which consumers have paid deposits in-store – are being returned, citing commercial sensitivity and the fact that the four-month transition period for all containers to be marked with the deposit return logo has not yet expired.

Regarding reports that individuals have been able to return the same item over and over again, by pulling it out of RVMs after the logo has been read, the company said attempting to defraud the scheme is against the law and any evidence will be passed to the relevant authorities.