Victoria’s Container Deposit Scheme celebrates 100 million returns, $10M in refunds

Image credit: Sustainability Victoria

Residents of Victoria have demonstrated their strong backing for the Container Deposit Scheme, marking a significant milestone with over 100 million containers returned and a collective refund exceeding $10 million in just two months.

Minister for Environment Steve Dimopoulos acknowledged this achievement today at the newly inaugurated Return-It depot in South Melbourne, one of approximately 400 accessible refund points scattered across the state.

The CDS has consistently shattered records, witnessing a staggering 15.8 million containers collected in the week leading up to Christmas and reaching an unprecedented 17.1 million containers returned in the past week alone.

Notably, Friday, January 5th, saw the highest daily returns, with 3.18 million containers processed, the government said in a media release.

On average, the CDS is handling around 10 million cans, cartons, and bottles weekly, with Victorians participating at a rate of 129 containers per transaction.

Regional Victorians are making substantial contributions to this environmental initiative, with Mildura leading the state by returning over 4.1 million containers.

Shepparton closely follows with more than 2.6 million containers, while Kangaroo Flat and Ballarat South have each collected over 2.1 million and 2 million containers, respectively.

Melton emerges as Melbourne’s top-performing refund point, having processed an astounding 3.9 million cans, glass, and PET plastics, closely trailed by the Hallam depot with over 2.6 million returns.

Breaking down the composition of returns since the scheme’s inception, aluminium cans stand out as the most popular, constituting 53 per cent of returns, followed by PET (26 per cent) and glass (18 per cent).

The upward trend in container returns prompts the expansion of Victoria’s network of refund points to meet growing demand, positioning the CDS as the most convenient and accessible scheme in the country.

Victorians have the option to either receive a refund or altruistically donate their containers to one of the 1600 participating charities, sports, community, environmental, or educational groups.

Furthermore, returned drink containers play a pivotal role in creating new products such as materials for roads, furniture, construction, textiles, and more.

This not only opens new economic opportunities but also supports over 600 jobs across Victoria.

Minister for Environment Steve Dimopoulos remarked on the substantial engagement of Victorians in recycling, emphasising the significant contribution of over 100 million containers for reuse in new products, thereby avoiding landfills and environmental harm to wildlife.

“The CDS is a great initiative to get people recycling – we’re rewarding Victorians who do the right thing, reducing litter and making sure recyclable product don’t end up in landfill,” the minister noted.

Meanwhile, member for Albert Park Nina Taylor expressed excitement about the new South Melbourne depot, recognising it as a valuable opportunity for the local community to play a role in environmental conservation.