Container Deposit Scheme in Victoria 2023: New And Simple Method For Recycling Drink Containers

The issue of waste and recycling has become a global concern as we grapple with the environmental impact of increasing consumer consumption. In Victoria, one solution that has gained traction is the implementation of a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). 

A CDS is a program that encourages recycling by providing a financial incentive for consumers to return used beverage containers for recycling. Victoria has recently introduced its Container Deposit Scheme (CDS Vic), which aims to promote recycling and reduce waste. CDS Vic, Victoria’s container deposit scheme, is scheduled to launch in November 2023. Let’s take a closer look at the Container Deposit Scheme in Australia, with a focus on Victoria’s program.

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What is Container Deposit Scheme?

The Container Deposit Scheme in Victoria, also known as “Return It,” was introduced in 2022, following the success of similar programs in other states such as South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. The scheme is managed by the Victorian Government in partnership with the beverage industry and is aimed at reducing litter and increasing recycling rates.

comparison of container schemes in Australian states

How does the CDS Vic scheme work?

how does the CDS Vic scheme work


Under the scheme, consumers pay a 10-cent deposit when they purchase eligible beverage containers, such as cans, bottles, and cartons, which are commonly used for soft drinks, water, and alcohol. When the containers are returned to an authorised collection point, such as a designated depot or a reverse vending machine, consumers receive a 10-cent refund for each container returned. This financial incentive serves as an incentive for consumers to recycle and properly dispose of their beverage containers.

Coordinator role:

  • Manage finances and commercial viability
  • Audits to prevent fraud
  • Pay refund amounts and collection network costs to network operator/s
  • Report against government performance targets

Network operator/s role:

  • Establish and maintain a network of refund points
  • Distribute refund amounts to consumers
  • Distribute payments to collection point operators
  • Report on participation and redemption rates

Benefits of the Container Deposit Scheme in Victoria

The introduction of the Container Deposit Scheme in Victoria has several benefits. Firstly, it helps to reduce litter and pollution in the environment. Beverage containers often litter parks, beaches, and streets and take years to break down. By providing a financial incentive for consumers to return these containers, the scheme encourages responsible disposal and helps to keep the environment clean.

Secondly, the Container Deposit Scheme promotes recycling and resource recovery. Returned containers are recycled, reducing the need for virgin materials to produce new containers. This helps conserve natural resources, reduce energy consumption, and lower greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing new materials. The scheme also creates a new stream of high-quality recyclable materials, which can be used to manufacture new products, contributing to a more circular economy.

Furthermore, the Container Deposit Scheme creates economic opportunities by creating jobs in collecting, sorting, and processing returned containers. The scheme requires establishing a network of authorised collection points, such as depots and reverse vending machines, which require staff for operation and maintenance. The collected containers are then sorted and processed for recycling, creating additional employment opportunities in the recycling industry.

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CDS Vic: Designed to be convenient for consumers and aims to capture containers that are often littered or not recycled

The CDS Vic is designed to be convenient for consumers. Authorised collection points are strategically located in various locations, including shopping centers, parks, and public spaces, making it easy for consumers to return their containers for a refund. Reverse vending machines, which are automated machines that accept containers and provide refunds, are also installed at convenient locations to simplify the process further.

Network Operators' location in Victoria The areas in Victoria where each Network Operator will be in charge of setting up and maintaining refund collection locations are shown on the map.

It’s important to note that the Container Deposit Scheme is not intended to replace existing recycling programs but rather complement them. The scheme aims to capture containers that are often littered or not recycled through curbside recycling programs, such as those consumed away from home or in public spaces. This makes the scheme a valuable addition to the overall waste management and recycling efforts in Victoria.

Promoting recycling and reducing waste in Victoria

The Container Deposit Scheme in Victoria is a positive step towards promoting recycling and reducing waste in Australia. By providing a financial incentive for consumers to return beverage containers for recycling, the scheme helps to reduce litter, promote resource recovery, and create economic opportunities. As consumers, it is important for us to actively participate in the scheme by returning eligible containers and supporting responsible waste management practices. Together, we can work towards a more sustainable future for our environment and communities.



Victorian Government. (2023) Container deposit scheme (CDS) 

Victorian Government. (2023) Victorias Container Deposit Scheme Factsheet

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