Tesco Ireland invests €15 million in deposit return scheme

Tesco Ireland has invested over €15 million in the installation of reverse vending machines for each of its 170 stores nationwide, as part of its commitment to the national Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), which goes live on 1 February. 

The state-of-the-art machines will be located inside all Tesco Express, Superstore and Extra stores across the country; making returns more accessible, and comfortable, for customers to engage with the scheme, particularly during the winter months. 

The introduction of DRS means customers will be charged a small refundable deposit on plastic bottles, aluminium, or steel cans, which customers can then claim back by returning the empty container. The cost of the deposit will be automatically added to the cost of the drink from 1st February. 

The retailer has had ongoing engagement with the operator of DRS, Re-turn Ireland, and from June to October last year, undertook successful trials in its Tesco Extra store in Drogheda and in its Malahide Express store. 

Speaking about the scheme, Darrin Honer, Country Operations Manager with Tesco Ireland, said: “We have been working hard to be ready for February 1st. The DRS initiative is crucially important as we, as a country, have a job of work to do in order to reach our required levels of recycling.

“From June to September 2023, we ran trials in two of our stores and we were delighted that our customers were very positive about the initiative and commented how easy it was to use, and how it would become second nature for them to bring back their returns as they are doing their weekly shop. Sustainability is a key priority for Irish consumers and DRS will require a significant change in consumer behaviour”.

He continued: “We are proactive in our preparations for February 1st. We will have a reverse vending machine in each of our 170 stores nationwide and importantly we will also have a strong presence in urban centres. All our machines will be indoors which will be more convenient and comfortable for our customers, and of course we’ll have colleagues on hand to guide customers through the process.”

Commenting on the investment, Natasha Adams, Tesco Ireland CEO said: “We’re hugely committed to playing our part in building a more sustainable world. We’ve invested €15 million in indoor machines for all our stores, which we hope will help make the transition easier for customers.”    

Working towards increased levels of recycling strongly links to Tesco’s sustainable future ambitions, to have a net zero target of 2035 for its own operations and a commitment to cut emissions including those generated by the products it sells and across its supply chains – to zero by 2050.

Tesco is the leading retail purchaser of Irish food and drink in the world, with purchases totalling €1.6 billion a year. Tesco works with over 500 food and drink companies around Ireland, and in turn supports over 13,000 farming families.

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