Rubbish bins

Cash For Containers

What is a Cash for Containers Scheme?

A Cash for Containers Scheme or Container Deposit Systems (CDS) / Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) is one example of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) that is used as a mechanism for managing the impact of packaging materials.  Cash for Containers schemes can be structured in many different ways but essentially rely on a recoverable deposit on beverage containers encouraging consumers to return the containers to a retailer or collection centre for recycling.  By providing a financial incentive for proper disposal it has the ability to impact on beverage littering.

Cash for Containers schemes are currently in operation, in one form or another, in some European countries, 11 US States, all 10 Canadian provinces and 2 Australian States/Territories (South Australia and Northern Territory). In 2015, the newly elected Government in New South Wales, made a commitment to introduce a Scheme in 2017.

MWAC Position on CDS

The Municipal Waste Advisory Council Policy Statement on Container Deposit Systems is available here.

Please contact Waste Management Policy Coordinator, Heather Squire, on 9213 2069 or for further details.

Discussions in Western Australia

In Western Australia, the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (WARR) Act 2007, includes powers to enact Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Schemes, such as a Cash for Containers Scheme. To date, no action has been taken.  

Container Deposit and Recovery Scheme Bill 2011

On 19 October 2011, Labor introduced the Container Deposit and Recovery Scheme Bill 2011.  The Bill and Second Reading Speech is available from Parliaments website

The Municipal Waste Advisory Council's Submission on a Petition for CDS, is available here.

Discussions at a National Level

Implementing a Cash for Containers Scheme on a National level has been discussed for a number of years. In August 2012, Environment Ministers met to decide what future action should occur nationally. The outcome of this meeting was to undertake further research into the matter, and to develop a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS). The number of options that were included in the DRIS grew to 10. The communique from the meeting is available here.

Packaging Impacts Consultation Regulation Impact Statement - Local Government Submission March 2012

The COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water released the Packaging Impacts Consultation Regulation Impact Statement as a means of developing a national response to packaging waste. A CDS was one proposed option to address packaging waste impacts.

The WALGA Submission is available here.

The key recommendation in the WALGA Submission is that the COAG Standing Council endorse a CDS as the preferred option for addressing packaging waste across Australia.

Packaging Impacts Decision Regulation Impact Statement Released - December 2014

On 19 December 2014,the Australian, state and territory governments released the Packaging Impacts Decision Regulation Impact Statement. The statement analysing the 10 options is available here.

It is still not clear when a decision on this issue will be made.

Additional Resources

Boomerang Alliance (2012). Beverage Company Pricing Behaviour Under the South Australian and Northern Territory Container Deposit Scheme. Available here.

Local Government and Shire Associations of NSW (2012). The Impacts (cost/benefits) of the Introduction of a Container Deposit/Refund System (CDS) on Kerbside Recycling and Councils. Available here.