Container deposit schemes are an effective way of reducing litter and have been used across the world.
How does it work?
Container deposit schemes work by adding a small extra deposit on top of the price of a beverage – such as those in plastic and glass bottles and aluminium cans – which is refunded to the consumer when they return the empty drink container for recycling. This is typically established through legislation passed by state or national governments. When the consumer purchases the beverage, they pay the additional deposit on the container. Once they have finished with their beverage, the consumer returns the container to receive their deposit back.
Container deposit schemes for non-refillable beverage containers have been around for several decades, and those for refillable containers for centuries, with early inceptions used particularly for glass collection. Today, these schemes are in place in many countries across the world and have proven results in reducing litter and increasing recycling rates.
Why does it work?
Container deposit schemes work for 3 main reasons:
Litter prevention – Traditionally waste has no value to the individual. And while there are many places to dispose of waste responsibly, it is reliant on the individual to do the right thing. Many do, but some don’t. By adding a clear reward, it signals to people to take their waste to the right place.
Litter pickup – We walk by rubbish all the time, and in many cases we assume it’s someone else’s responsibility. By adding a deposit to the container, someone walking by is likely to acknowledge it’s value and pick it up
Effective Recycling – By effectively capturing and sorting containers, they are in a much better position to be re-used or recycled