The deposit return machines at Dunnes Stores in Irishtown, Athlone, had 'out of order' notices posted on them today (Friday).

Athlone deposit return machine 'out of order' a week into scheme

A deposit return machine in the centre of Athlone was out of action today (Friday), just over a week after the introduction of the incentivised recycling scheme.

Customers looking to return their cans or plastic bottles at Dunnes Stores in Irishtown found 'out of order' notices posted on the machines outside the grocery entrance to the store.

The notices apologised for any inconvenience caused.

The Westmeath Independent contacted Re-turn Ireland, the operators of the deposit return scheme, for a comment.

In a response this afternoon, a Re-turn Ireland spokesperson said it was aware of "a small number of Reverse Vending Machines that were, or are currently, temporarily out of order".

The spokesperson added: "We appreciate the patience and understanding of our users as the Irish public continues to familiarise themselves with the Reverse Vending Machines."

When asked what steps the public should take if they're attempting to return bottles or cans at a machine that's not working, Re-turn Ireland said they should first notify the retailer in order to help get the issue resolved.

"Consumers should check in with their retailer or participating outlet to see if manual or over-the-counter returns are an option. Consumers can find their local deposit return points on the Re-turn website here," the spokesperson added.

The scheme was introduced on February 1 and involves deposits of 15 cent or 25 being charged on aluminium cans and plastic bottles.

When the cans or bottles are returned, deposits are refunded in the form of a voucher that can be spent in the store where the deposit return machine is located.

On Joe Duffy's Liveline programme, on RTÉ Radio 1 last week, Re-turn Ireland chief executive Ciaran Foley acknowledged that there had been some 'teething problems' with the scheme.