Victoria’s Container Deposit Scheme
Victoria’s Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) is a Victorian Government initiative that provides a 10-cent refund for every eligible drink container returned.
The program aims to reduce litter that ends up in our streets, beaches, waterways and parks. Eligible containers are those typically consumed 'on the go' while containers with contents that are normally consumed at home, are excluded (but can still be accepted in your home recycling bins).
Please note: Introduction of the CDS Vic has no impact on the way you can use your recycling bins at home. You may choose to take eligible containers to a refund point, but there is no obligation to do so.
The scheme starts across Victoria from 1 November 2023, with return points being rolled out to the community over the next 12 months.
How do I find refund points?
The exact location of each refund point is being finalised by the Victorian Government and this information will be made available as more refund points open to the public. Once locations are finalised, you can search for your closest refund point on the interactive map at www.cdsvic.org.au
A list of zones by local government area can also be found at the VicReturn website www.vicreturn.com.au.
What are the different types of refund points?
• Reverse vending machines are conveniently located self-service return points. You will be able to find these near supermarkets and in public spaces.
• Depots will be staffed centres that are able to sort and count bulk loads of beverage containers. You can either walk-through or drive-through to get your containers counted and you can get a cash or electronic refund.
• Over the counter refund points will be located at businesses and organisations in your community. Once you hand over your containers, they will count them for you and provide a refund.
• Bag drops and collections are available at select locations as a convenient way to cash in your containers. These are operated within zones and require you to be registered to process payment.
Depending on the type of return point you deposit your containers at, your refund can be received in the form of cash, retail voucher, an electronic refund, or you can donate your refund to a donation partner of your choice.
What containers are eligible for refund in Victoria’s Container Deposit Scheme?
Most 'on the go' 150ml to 3L beverage containers are eligible for a 10-cent refund – provided they are made from:
- liquid paperboard (the material often used for small boxed juice drinks, or small flavoured milk containers etc)
These are the containers most regularly consumed on the go and end up as litter across our community.
If you're not sure, look for the ‘10c’ mark on the container to see if it is eligible for a refund. If there is a 10c mark, then you should be able to return the drink container, provided it is in good condition (uncrushed, empty and with the label and barcode in-tact).
What beverage containers are not eligible for a refund?
These items aren’t accepted but can still go into household recycling:
• plain milk bottles
• milk containers of 1L or more
• glass wine bottles
• glass spirit bottles
• cordial bottles
• juice containers 1L and over
• household food containers (e.g., tuna cans)
Why are some beverage containers eligible for a refund and some aren’t?
The containers which are eligible for a refund are those that are most commonly found as litter in our streets, beaches, waterways and parks across Victoria. They are the type of beverage containers you might consume ‘on the go’ when you are outside, or away from home.
The containers that aren’t accepted contain products most commonly used in the home, so are typically more appropriate for household kerbside recycling.
Can I choose to keep using my recycling bins at home?
Yes, you can continue to put eligible containers in kerbside recycling (yellow mixed recycling bin / purple glass bin).
Introduction of the CDS Vic has no impact on the way you can use your recycling bins at home. You may choose to take eligible containers to a refund point, but there is no obligation to do so.
Do I need to wash containers before returning them?
No. Just make sure that your containers are empty of liquid.
You don’t have to return bottles with lids, but if you do, please make sure they are attached, and not returned loose/on their own.
How much of my refund goes to my chosen donation partner?
All of the donated refund goes to your chosen donation partner.
What happens to the containers that are collected through the CDS?
CDS Vic will give containers a new life by transforming them into new streams of material for recycling – meaning your containers can be turned into new drink containers, as well as other useful products. Hereʼs how it works:
• Zone Operators sort returned containers into material types before transporting them to be processed. The sorted containers are then transported to a processing facility, where the processor prepares the material for recycling.
• Recyclers then purchase the materials to recycle them into new products, such as new glass and PET bottles, aluminium cans and other items like clothing and plastic-based construction items.
• When the materials are recycled into a new eligible container, the circular economy journey starts again.
Where can I get more information?
If you have questions about the operation of the Container Deposit Scheme you can get in touch via the VicReturn website www.vicreturn.com.au
If you have questions for the Victorian Government you can contact Recycling Victoria:
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action on 136 186.