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 10c refund on each item.
As the scheme progresses, more focus is being placed on ACT CDS recycling outcomes and the contribution to the circular economy.
Read more about the scheme in the ACT CDS Annual Report.
ELIGIBLE DRINK CONTAINERS
10c mark and barcode visibleThe 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 uncrushedUncrushed containers are preferred, although crushed containers will be accepted. As long as the 10c mark is visible and barcode can be read on the label, the drink container will be accepted.
Lids offPlease 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 10c each by visiting our eligible containers page.
RETURNING DRINK CONTAINERS
There are four types of return points available in the ACT for you to return your container at:
Reverse Vending Machine
Self-service and open 7am to 7pm, seven days a week. Perfect for returning containers while at the shops. Refunds received through a Return-It express account.
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. You must pre-register for a Return-It Express account to receive an electronic refund in just a few days.
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. You must pre-register for a Return-It Express account to receive an electronic refund in just a few days.
Self-service. Open 6am to 12am, seven days a week. Ideal for on-the-go returns. Donations only.
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.
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 Return-It via email@example.com 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.
If you 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.
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 10c 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 10c 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, and helping businesses meet their sustainability and corporate social responsibility targets.
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.
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.
If you are a school, not-for-profit organisation or community group you can download our free fundraising toolkit to help you get started with recycling and fundraising through the scheme.
For other businesses, you can download our free business guide and toolkit to help you get started with recycling and fundraising through the scheme.