A Container Refund Scheme involves the payment of a refund (10 cents) for the return of every eligible beverage container to a recognised redemption point. In other words, people get cash for recycling their containers. There are over 40 such systems around the world including in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
South Australia has had a container refund scheme since 1975. According to the CSIRO Marine Debris Report 2014, the amount of beverage container litter in South Australia is less than the amount of container litter in Queensland 'by a factor of three.’ In Queensland most beverage containers, despite kerbside collections, are wasted in landfill. In SA, container recycling rates are above 80%. In more modern schemes, such as Germany, container collection rates are close to 100%.
The primary objectives of a Container Refund Scheme should be to 1. Significantly reduce litter from beverage containers, 2. Increase recycling of containers, and 3. Grow community benefits by providing income to charities, encouraging social enterprises, and creating new jobs and regional business opportunities.