ACT Container Deposit Scheme celebrates fourth birthday with big wins

ACT Container Deposit Scheme

The ACT Container Deposit Scheme is celebrating its success for the fourth year running. Thanks to the tremendous effort of the community, over 181 million containers have been returned through the scheme’s network of return points – that’s more than $18 million in refunds back in the hands of the community.

In a big win for Canberrans, the data shows that three in four containers supplied into the state are being redeemed through the recycling scheme – through one of the 19 return points across the Territory as well as containers collected via resident’s yellow kerbside recycling bins.

Nearly all drink containers can be recycled, however most end up in landfill and are not recycled. Container Deposit Schemes like this one empower the public to return their used containers through a container refund system. And the refund system is clearly working. 

“In four years, the ACT Container Deposit Scheme has become a part of life for the majority of ACT residents with 63 per cent of adults participating, resulting in millions of bottles and cans being recycled and avoiding ending up as litter or landfill,” Danielle Smalley, chief executive officer of Exchange for Change said. 

“What’s been really heartening to see alongside the environmental outcomes is the social benefits, with the scheme becoming a fundraising stalwart for many ACT charities, schools and community organisations,” said Marc Churchin, chief executive officer of Return-It.

Last weekend, Canberrans enjoyed a free coffee and a cookie when they returned their containers at a ACT Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) cash-back depot. The public can now get access to a live performance dashboard on the ACT CDS site, providing the latest scheme success metrics including the number of containers returned to date, redemption rate and participation. 

The National Zoo and Aquarium began participating shortly after the scheme launched in 2018, allowing it to reach its target of $50,000 in refunds for animal conservation initiatives through volunteer-led container collection.

The ACT Container Deposit Scheme is a partnership between the ACT Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator Return-It. 

There are 19 return points available across the ACT including cash-back depots in Fyshwick, Mitchell, Phillip and Belconnen. 

For more information about the ACT Container Deposit Scheme, including your nearest return point, visit  

ACT Container Deposit Scheme