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Recycling Re-jig

Example of CDS reverse vending machine

Beginning in November 2023, Victoria’s Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) will introduce a long-awaited cash incentive program for recycling eligible drink containers in the state. Beginning in South Australia in 1977, most Australian states have since adopted the incentive, with Victoria and Tasmania finally announcing participation as of this year.

The CDS is expected to, not only reduce plastic waste ending up in landfill, but also lower council clean-up costs and increase the amount of materials being recycled. Each container collected and turned in at one of the refund points will be rewarded at 10c per item.

This scheme will differ from your usual household recycling collection in that only specific recyclable containers will be eligible for the CDS. These include:

  • Non-concentrated fruit or vegetable juice containers

  • Flavoured milk containers

  • Beer bottles

  • Soft drink cans

  • Mixed spirits bottles

All eligible containers may be deposited with or without lids, however their label must be intact and their barcode present so they may be scanned to obtain purchase and manufacturing information. Only eligible containers purchased from the CDS start date (1 November) onward may be deposited.

The following items are not eligible for the CDS:

  • Glass wine bottles

  • Glass spirit bottles

  • Juice bottles over 1 litre

  • Pre-mix cordial bottles

  • Milk (other than flavoured milk) containers

  • Concentrated fruit or vegetable juice bottles

  • Health tonic bottles

The CDS will be run by a scheme coordinator known as VicReturn, along with three Zone Operators (Return-it, TOMRA Cleanaway and Visy) managing appointed geographic locations across the state (North, East and West). Any organisation or business wishing to operate a CDS collection point in the local Hawthorn area can contact Zone Operator, Visy on

Collection point operators may nominate a deposit method for customers including:

  • reverse vending machines

  • depots

  • over-the-counter collection points

  • mobile or ‘pop-up’ refund collection points

VicReturn stated that they are working with community groups and charities to take part in the CDS. Charitable organisations can benefit from the potential fundraising opportunities it presents through running container collection drives and operating a collection point. Network Operators will be paid for every container they collect.

Although the CDS is incentivising recycling, the community is being asked to undertake the job of the recycling companies. With the rather complex set of regulations around what is and is not eligible for the CDS, it remains to be seen if consumers are put off and instead continue to rely on their trusty household recycling bin.

For more information on where you can deposit your eligible containers, check the CDS website, container-deposit-scheme

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