Congratulations to the Victorian State Government – they have just announced that they will be bringing in a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). This means they will be the final Australian state to introduce a Container Deposit Scheme. At present, the scheme will begin in 2023, however, plans are subject to change.

    We’ve compiled all the latest info to help you get familiar with what a CDS can look like.

    What is a Container Deposit Scheme?

    A container deposit scheme, or CDS for short, incentivises the community for recycling their used beverage containers, giving a 10c refund for every eligible container returned to the scheme. NSW, QLD, NT, SA, ACT and NT all have an existing CDS, with WA introducing their scheme in June 2020 and Tasmania to follow in 2022.

    How do Container Deposit Schemes 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 the best approach in reducing litter and increasing recycling rates of beverage containers.

    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 and are less at risk of contamination.

    What items are eligible?

    The Victorian Government has yet to announce the details of which containers are eligible, however, it is likely that the conditions will be similar to NSW and QLD. Typically, drink containers made of plastic, glass, aluminium and liquid paperboard that are 150ml – 3L will be eligible, including:

    • soft drink cans and bottles;
    • bottled waters – both plastic and glass;
    • small flavoured milk drinks;
    • beer and cider cans and bottles; and
    • sports drinks and spirit-based mixed drinks.

    Containers that are unlikely to be part of the scheme include:

    • plain milk (or milk substitute) containers;
    • flavoured milk containers of one litre or more;
    • pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of one litre or more;
    • glass containers for wine and spirits;
    • casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine and casks for water – one litre or more;
    • sachets for wine of 250 millilitres or more;
    • containers for cordials, concentrated fruit/vegetable juices; and
    • registered health tonics.

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