No bottling new cash back recycling return scheme kicking off today

The new cash back machines will come into use this week. Photo: Saša Novak Uí Chonchúir.

TIME was – and in living memory too – that kids would collect empty lemonade bottles from neighbours’ bins and get the deposits back from the local shopkeepers to get money for a Saturday afternoon at the pictures.

It might not cover the price of a cinema ticket but, as Green Party councillor Saša Novak Uí Chonchúir points out, everybody in Limerick will have a chance to get cash back when they recycle old plastic bottles and cans under a new scheme which begins today (February 1).

As part of the scheme, shoppers will pay a deposit on certain items, such as plastic bottles and drinks cans, which they will get back when they bring the empty clean containers to one of the ‘reverse vending machines’ now in many supermarkets and shops countywide.

Only items with the new ‘Re-Turn’ logo, which will appear on goods from this week, are included. Bottled items like milk and dairy products will have no logo affixed and can be recycled as usual.

“It is awful to see beautiful places like our parks and city centre ruined by litter, so this scheme will help motivate people to clean up our city. Only 23 per cent of plastic bottles are recycled in Ireland and we want to take this to 90 per cent,” the Green Party councillor said.

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“The reverse vending machines couldn’t be easier to use. I spent some time in Berlin last year, where there is a machine like this in every shop. They were a huge success with my kids. They were collecting bottles and bringing them back to the shop to get a voucher that they could then use as spending money. They have plans to get rich this way.”

The scheme is funded by a ‘deposit’ of 15c on plastic bottles and cans of 500ml or less and 25c on containers larger than 500ml.

The deposit can be claimed by returning the containers to any participating store, even if they were bought in a different store. Consumers can choose between receiving the deposit as a store voucher or as cash.