FAQs

About the ACT Container Deposit Scheme

The ACT Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) is a litter reduction initiative that was introduced by the ACT Government in 2018. Participants collect and return their empty drink containers at return points across Canberra for a 10 cent refund on each item.

Read more about the scheme in the ACT CDS Annual Report.

While both the ACT and NSW Governments have introduced container deposit schemes, they are managed separately. If you have collected bottles and cans that were supplied into the ACT, you can return them through the ACT CDS and get 10 cents for each one.

Learn more about which containers you can return through the ACT CDS for 10 cents each by visiting our eligible containers page.

Eligible Drink Containers

The easiest way to check if your drink container is eligible for a refund is to look for the 10c refund mark on the label. Drink containers that are eligible under the ACT CDS are those that are commonly found in the litter stream. These include most glass, plastic, aluminium, steel and carton-based containers that are between 150 millilitres and 3 litres.

Learn more about which containers you can return for 10 cents each by visiting our eligible containers page.

Containers not commonly found in litter, including all plain milk, flavoured milk 1 litre and over, pure juice and cordial drinks, health tonics, and wine and spirit bottles.

Learn more about which containers you can return for 10 cents each by visiting our eligible containers page.

A small number of containers with the ‘10c’ symbol on the label are not eligible through the ACT Container Deposit Scheme, such as Yakult milk containers. This is because they are eligible for a refund in another state or territory. These containers and labels are often produced and supplied nationally, so this is a standard message. Please dispose of these containers in your household recycling bin.

Learn more about which containers you can return for 10 cents each by visiting our eligible containers page.

10c mark and barcode visible

The 10c refund mark and barcode is required on all containers so that the ACT CDS network operator, Return-It, can verify that the container has been registered for the container deposit scheme and is eligible for a refund.

Crushed or uncrushed

Uncrushed containers are preferred, although crushed containers will be accepted. As long as the 10 cent mark is visible on the label, the drink container will be accepted.

Lids off

Please keep the lids off your containers and dispose of them in the appropriate bin at home. Many common drink container lids can be recycled. For more information and tips on how to recycle, see www.cityservices.act.gov.au/recyclopaedia

Learn more about which drink containers you can return for 10 cents each by visiting our eligible containers page.

Returning drink containers

There are three types of return points available in the ACT for you to return your container at:

  • Cash-back Depot

Staffed with automated counting systems. Open during business hours and weekends. Ideal for larger quantities of drink containers and an instant cash refund.

  • Drop & Go Pod

Self-service and open 7am to 7pm, seven days a week. Ideal for returning containers close to home for an electronic refund. Please ensure containers are placed in a slightly see-through plastic bag with the label attached.

  • Drop & Go Point

Self-service and staffed. Open during business hours and weekends. Ideal for returning four to five bags of drink containers at a time for an electronic refund. Please ensure containers are placed in a slightly see-through plastic bag with the label attached.

Learn more about each return point type by visiting returning containers.

The location and operating hours of all return points are available on our return points page.

If you would like an electronic refund or plan to visit a Drop & Go Pod or Drop & Go Point, you’ll need to set up an online account with the ACT CDS network operator, Return-It.

The location of return points around the ACT have been selected to make it as easy as possible for everyone, including people with disabilities, to return containers.

If you require assistance with your return, we suggest visiting a staffed return point at any of the cash-back depots, where Return-It staff will be happy to help. You can contact via info@returnit.com.au or call (02) 6280 8538 and a representative will be in touch.

When using a Drop & Go Pod and Drop & Go Point, your containers need to be in a white or light coloured bin liner which you can purchase from any supermarket. The bag must be transparent for the safety of staff who sort and process the returned containers. After your containers have been processed, the plastic bags are recycled via RedCycle by Return-It.

If you would prefer not to use a plastic bag when returning your containers, we recommend visiting a cash-back depot where you can bring your containers in any box or tub and use the self-service automated counting system to process and count your containers without the need for a plastic bag.

Find your closest cash-back depot by visiting our return points page.

Yes, you can still put your empty drink containers in the yellow bin. However, you will not receive any refund for them.

Fundraising

The ACT CDS is a great way to teach students about recycling while raising funds for school and community projects.

When your school deposits eligible drink containers through the ACT CDS, you are sending them to be recycled, turning waste into a clean and valuable resource. Plus, your school earns 10 cents for each container returned.

Your school community, families and supporters can also choose to donate their refund to your school or parents and citizens association and support your fundraising initiatives.

Download our fundraising toolkit to access some helpful tips and resources to promote your school’s container collection drive and litter reduction initiatives.

Find out more information about how to get your school involved here.

The ACT CDS is a great way for community groups to raise funds. It encourages recycling in our community and aims to reduce litter and landfill.

Community groups can fundraise through the scheme by collecting eligible containers and redeeming them at return points for 10 cents each.  Your wider community, families and supporters can also choose to donate their refund to your group and support your fundraising initiatives.

Download our fundraising toolkit to access some helpful tips and resources to promote your group’s container collection drive.

Find out more information about how to get your community group involved here.

The ACT CDS is a great way for businesses to reduce waste management costs, increase recycling, and get employees involved in raising funds for a good cause. Businesses play a key role in returning large volumes of drink containers through the ACT CDS leading to better environmental and social outcomes for the community.

Find out more information about how to get your business involved here.

If you are a not-for-profit or community organisation such as a charity, sporting group or school, create an online account with Return-It. You will receive a ten-digit number which you can share with your community. They can choose to donate their container refunds to your cause.

Find out more information about fundraising here.

The scheme’s return point operator, Return-It, has introduced a free trailer hire program for communities and businesses. Trailers are available at cash-back depots and come with 240 litre Return-It bins and bulka bags. To find out more and make a booking, visit Trailer program.

Resources

The ACT CDS is proud to partner with Cool Australia to deliver free teaching resources on sustainability and recycling for early learning through to Year 6. These curriculum-linked resources for ACT teachers provide practical ways to engage students on sustainability and recycling and support schools’ participation in the scheme. Find out more and download our free resources at ACT Container Deposit Scheme education resources – Cool Australia.

Yes, you can download our free fundraising toolkit to help your school, not-for-profit, or community group to get started with recycling and fundraising through the ACT CDS.

Yes, you can download our free business guide and toolkit to help your business get started with recycling and fundraising through the ACT CDS.

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