Victoria announces container deposit scheme to manage waste and recycling

CDS Vic will allow Victorians to return their used drink cans, bottles and cartons for a 10-cent refund.

Australia’s most convenient and accessible beverage container recycling scheme will begin on 1 November 2023, as part of the Victorian Government’s landmark reforms to the state’s waste and recycling sector.

Minister for Environment Ingrid Stitt announced the start date for Victoria’s Container Deposit Scheme, CDS Vic, and named the organisations that will be responsible for delivering the scheme.

VicReturn will be the Scheme Coordinator and Visy, TOMRA Cleanaway and Return-It will be Network Operators.

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Minister Stitt said, “Victoria’s Container Deposit Scheme will maximise the number of cans, bottles and cartons being recycled into new products, put extra cash in Victorian pockets and will reduce the amount of litter in our environment by half.”

“CDS Vic will be Australia’s most accessible and convenient container deposit scheme, with more than 600 refund collection points across the state.”

container deposit scheme to manage waste and recycling; Image Source: @CANVA
container deposit scheme to manage waste and recycling; Image Source: @CANVA

CDS Vic will allow Victorians to return their used drink cans, bottles and cartons for a 10-cent refund. This will reduce Victoria’s litter by up to half, create new economic opportunities, generate 645 jobs and turn drink containers into new recycled products.

How it will work

  • You purchase a drink.
  • You return your empty drink container to a refund collection point. With refund collection points across Victoria, you can choose a location that is convenient for you.
  • You receive a 10-cent refund for every eligible container you return. You can choose to keep the funds or donate to a participating charity, community group, environmental group, educational organisation or sports group.
  • Your returned container is given a new lease on life. The material is recycled and remanufactured into a new product, saving it from landfill or littering the environment.

Containers eligible for refund

CDS Vic will target beverage containers that most commonly contribute to litter and are often consumed away from home. This includes plastic soft drink bottles, glass beer bottles, soft drinks and alcohol sold in cans, and small fruit juice cartons.

Containers eligible for refund, soda cans, flavoured milk boxes, beer cans, beer bottles and plastic water bottles

Eligible containers include

  • Non-concentrated fruit or vegetable juice
  • Flavoured milk
  • Beer
  • Soft drink
  • Mixed spirits
Container deposit scheme ineligible containers for refund, glass wine bottles, Glass Spirit bottles, Juice bottles over 1 litre, Codial bottles, Milk - other than flavoured milk, Concentrated fruit or vegetable juice, Health tonics

Exempt containers include:

  • Glass wine bottles
  • Glass spirit bottles
  • Juice bottles over 1 litre
  • Cordial bottles
  • Milk (other than flavoured milk)
  • Concentrated fruit or vegetable juice
  • Health tonics

They will also offers Victorian charities, community groups, environmental groups, sporting clubs and educational organisations new ways to raise funds. These groups and organisations will be able to receive container donations from the community, run a refund collection point or host a container collection drive.

This will encourage more community participation and education around recycling while ensuring households, local clubs and groups can share in the cash benefits of recycling their used cans, bottles and cartons.

Nina Taylor Member for Albert Park said This is a great opportunity for Victorians to help clean up our environment, while helping sporting clubs and community groups to raise valuable funds through collection drive events and donations.”

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The Network Operators will establish and maintain a network of more than 600 refund collection points across the state, making the scheme accessible to all Victorians.

Within 12 months of the scheme starting, the network operators will be required to have a minimum of one collection point per 14,500 people in metropolitan areas, at least one per town of 750 people in regional areas, and at least one per town of 350 people in remote areas.

CDS Vic is part of the Labor Government’s $515 million investment to transform the state’s waste and recycling sector. This includes the new standardised four-stream waste and recycling system, which will help meet our target of diverting 80 per cent of all material away from landfill by 2030.