10 cents can clean things up

In Australia, around 15 billion drink bottles and cans are consumed every year and fewer than half of these are recycled. Beverage containers now outstrip cigarette butts as the most littered item. 15,000 bottles and cans are littered or landfilled in Australia every minute.

It is a fact that a Cash for Container scheme will reduce litter and increase recycling rates to 80 – 95%. South Australia is leading the way with such a scheme and has double the rate of recycling than the rest of the country.

City of Sydney's 10 cent installation made of recyclable plastic bottles
City of Sydney’s 10 cent installation made of recyclable plastic bottles


What is a Cash for Container scheme?

A Container Deposit Scheme is a fully refundable 10 cent deposit returned to consumers when they give back their used bottles and cans for recycling. Reverse vending machines are a solution for collecting those containers.

What are the benefits?

  • Rising recycling rates: Container Deposit Schemes lead to rates of recycling of 80-95%. No other recycling system around the world has proven to achieve this.
  • Decreasing litter and plastic pollution: Groups like Clean Up Australia who are dedicated to cleaning up litter, have repeatedly seen that litter rates of bottles and cans are much lower in South Australia where a successful scheme has been operating since 1977.
  • Boosting the recycling industry: Recycling companies expect to invest millions of dollars and create thousands of jobs in Australia if Cash for Containers goes national.


Cash for Containers in your state

At the moment, a Container Deposit Scheme is in place in the Northern Territory and South Australia but schemes are being developed in other states:

  • NSW is on track to implement the scheme in December 2017
  • QLD and WA will follow in 2018


How to help the movement

The best thing you can do is show your support for a Cash for Containers scheme in your state. Having one will mean that you will be able to access many more reverse vending machines, as well as redeem cash. This is only possible in states where Container Deposit Schemes are in place. Visit Clean Up Australia to learn more.