4 hidden benefits of Container Deposit Schemes

By Rachael Ridley 6 November 2020

Container Deposit Schemes are great for communities, providing grassroots organisations, local sports clubs, schools and households an opportunity to fundraise or earn some extra cash. But did you know there are other benefits to these schemes that have far reaching effects?

Pretty soon Australians in all states and territories will have access to a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). Western Australia recently launched their scheme, Containers for Change, with Tasmania and Victoria to follow shortly. 

Container Deposit Schemes are great for communities. Any member of the public can return eligible, empty beverage containers to collection points and receive a 10c refund per container. Here are four reasons why this is great news for the environment, communities and the Australian recycling industry. 

1. Cleaner recycling streams = better quality recycled products

Kerbside recycling is great; it’s a practical service that provides the vast majority of Australians with easy access to recycling their waste. But when food scraps and items that aren’t recyclable end up in the recycling bin, it can sometimes lead to our recyclables being turned into a lower-grade quality material. 

Separating our recycling streams gives more control to recyclers and creates high-quality recycled content. A CDS provides a clean waste stream where the containers recovered are sorted efficiently. The materials such as glass, plastic and aluminium that are collected are highly recyclable and are turned into high-grade recycled products with a strong market value. These products are also more likely to be recycled again. For example, due to contamination, glass from kerbside recycling is crushed and turned into new products like road base. However, glass containers collected through CDS are able to be turned into new bottles, so the process and products have a higher value.

2. More local green jobs

Our recycling industry is worth $15 billion to the Australian economy and has lots of positive economic and societal benefits. By recycling our waste, we’re actually creating more jobs than if we were to send those valuable resources to landfill. In fact, for every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled 9.2 full-time jobs are created compared with just 2.8 jobs when the same amount of waste is sent to landfill.1 And the new Western Australian CDS has created more than 600 jobs across the state!2 

3. Beverage cartons are accepted

For the small number of Australians who are not able to recycle beverage cartons in their kerbside recycling, CDS offers those residents an opportunity to recycle their eligible cartons. Beverage cartons such as flavoured milk and juice cartons under one litre are currently accepted by CDS in New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. 

For the Australians who currently do not have access to CDS and cannot recycle their cartons in kerbside recycling, Tetra Pak is working hard to provide them with a recycling solution with plans underway to establish three dedicated carton recycling facilities in Australia and New Zealand. 

If you’re unsure whether your council accepts beverage cartons in kerbside recycling, visit Recycling Near You. Simply enter in your postcode to learn if you can put foil-lined and non-foil-lined cartons in your recycling bin. 

4. Cleaner beaches, parks and streets

CDS provide a financial incentive to reduce litter and the number of recyclable materials that are sent to landfill. In under two years, the New South Wales scheme collected two billion containers and helped reduce the number of littered beverage containers by 57%.3 Research shows they also help protect our environment with the proportion of beverage containers littered on coasts being up to 35% lower in states that have CDS.4

Coca-Cola in Australia is a strong supporter of all six operating Container Deposit Schemes around Australia, helping to keep bottles and cans out of oceans or landfill and ensuring they have the best chance of being turned into another container. 

1Employment in waste management and recycling, 2009.

2Government of Western Australia, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

3New South Wales EPA.

4Qld Government statement on CDS.

Rachael Ridley
Rachael manages the Business Recycling and Recycling Near You websites. Rachael joined Planet Ark in early 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael loves using her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys spending time in nature, listening to music and patting dogs.