National Container Deposit Scheme

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson initiated a Senate Inquiry on 7th November 2012 to examine the connection between cash for container schemes and lower levels of marine plastic pollution. The inquiry also looked into serious allegations of beverage company misbehaviour - such as profiteering, price gouging and obstructionism.

The South Australian cash for container scheme or 'container deposit program' has achieved up to an 84% recycling rate on all beverage containers consumed, the highest recycling rate in Australia.  South Australians are very proud of this achievement the Greens are confident a national scheme could be funded entirely from private investment, and run efficiently at a much lower cost than existing schemes.

A few big powerful companies in the beverage industry - especially Coca Cola and Lion - claim that such a national scheme would be too expensive and an inefficient way to clean up our nation's rubbish, and the environmental problems it causes. They have strongly lobbied state governments to prevent new schemes, and are also behind an aggressive national advertising campaign claiming that a national reward scheme for rubbish will strongly impact Australians' cost of living. 

The Greens' Environmental Protection (Beverage Container Deposit and Recovery Scheme) Bill will create a national scheme for recycling the 10 billion drinks containers Australians throw away each year through a 10c returnable deposit on all drink bottles, cans and cartons.

Some of the key benefits of the scheme include:
- Savings to rate payers of over $59.8 million a year
- Raising up to $90 million in government revenue
- Creating hundreds of green jobs
- Decreasing litter by 12-15%
- Increasing recycling of drink containers from 50% to 80%
- Diverting more than 740,000 tonnes from landfill
- Reducing national greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1.3 million 
tonnes of CO2 each year - the equivalent of switching 197,000 homes to
renewable energy
- Improving air quality to the equivalent of taking 140,000 cars off the roads

This is a fully costed plan to save taxpayer money, create new jobs and save the environment.

Victorian Green MLC Colleen Hartland has also introduced a Private Members Bill to implement such a scheme at a state level and South Australia has had a similar scheme in place for some time.

Latest on National Container Deposit Scheme


Container Deposit Scheme is the most effective way to clean up Tasmania

25 Aug 2014

Container Deposit Scheme is the most effective way to clean up Tasmania


Roadside Clean-Up - Dynnyrne

30 Nov 2013 | 11:00 am

We are organising a series of clean up events around Tasmania as part of a voluntary "cash for containers" scheme. 


Greens call on new Environment Minister to implement a national container deposit scheme

24 Oct 2013

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Australian Greens spokesperson on waste and recycling, launched an online petition to demonstrate to the new Environment Minister how popular a national container deposit scheme is.



05 Sep 2013

Better management of Australia's waste provides an opportunity to create new industries and jobs, improve the natural environment and minimise waste production. A container deposit scheme and a national waste register will help this transition.


Voluntary Cash for Containers - Nicholls Rivulet Clean-Up

31 Aug 2013 | 2:00 pm

Come and help Peter clean up rubbish and beverage containers and prove how effective container deposit schemes can be.

View all