It Just Makes Cents!

Over the last 40 years South Australia has led the way in container recycling. The Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) was first introduced to SA in 1977 as a litter control measure. It was introduced as the popularity of non-refillable containers (cans & plastic soft drink bottles) became higher and the start of phasing out of refillable glass bottles.

Each year around 600 million containers are collected for refund and recycling which equates to roughly 42,913 tonnes of materials avoided from landfill every year!


September 2021 the Government released a discussion paper on improving the management of the Container Deposit Scheme and expanding the range of containers accepted, in particular, glass bottles. Currently the CDS does not capture plain milk bottles, fermented wine bottles, spirit glass bottles, fruit juice in containers of 1 litre or more, or any beverages in containers greater than 3 litres. This is because these items are not consumed as a take-away product and therefore do not usually contribute to the litter problem.

Glass bottles in the kerbside bins have become problematic, as glass breaks and contaminates other recyclable items and only a small amount of glass is actually being recovered. With more glass products being accepted in the Container Deposit Scheme this would reduce costs for council rate payers and improve the recovery of this precious resource.

Over a 6 week period, the EPA have received over 1,170 responses from the public, environmental groups, beverage manufacturing sector and retailers which has helped the Government put together the Improving South Australia’s Recycling Makes Cents Discussion Paper’ This has been structured around the following key issues:

  • Objectives of the CDS- including recovery and recycling of container materials within the domestic circular economies

  • Scope of containers – included in the CDS

  • Scheme approvals – including container application fees and container markings

  • CDS container return rates – including deposit value, container return and payment of the refund

  • Governance of the CDS – and its relationship to schemes in other jurisdictions

The discussion is still currently open until the 19th of November, so quickly jump in and get involved and have your say! To find out more:

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