Cash for Containers

Cashy handsCash for Containers Schemes (or Container Deposit Schemes or Legislation) have been around for a long time. Everyone is familiar with the South Australian Container Deposit Legislation (CDL), where consumers receive 10 cents back for recycling their used beverage containers at collection depots. CDL in South Australia has been in place since 1977, and is extremely successful. It is widely acknowledged that it would be politically unwise for any political party to attempt to remove CDL. A recent survey conducted by the South Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) found 98% of the South Australian population supported CDL.

WALGA, through the Container Deposit Systems Policy Forum, has initiated an advocacy campaign to encourage all political parties to commit to implementing a WA based Cash for Containers Scheme. Implementing this type of Scheme at a National level has been discussed for a number of years.

WALGA would like to thank all those that have supported the advocacy campaign. Over the course of the campaign, more than 1500 individuals have signed a petition that will be presented to Parliament. In addition, over 1000 emails in support of a Scheme have been sent to the Western Australian Minister for the Environment. These come from a range of areas in Perth, as well as outside the metropolitan area, including Esperance, Jurien Bay, Goldfields, Exmouth and the Mid West.

We thought that it was timely to provide an update on what’s happening both in WA and nationally in response to the call for a Cash for Containers Scheme. The WA State Government has stated that:

“It will not make a decision as to whether to pursue a WA scheme until discussions are completed at a National level.”

Unfortunately it’s not clear exactly when a National decision will be made. Federal deliberations on this issue have already been underway for a number of years.


What’s happening in other states?

Northern Territory

Since 3 January 2012, the Northern Territory Government have been operating a Container Deposit Scheme.

In February 2013 a federal court ruled that the Scheme was illegal under Commonwealth Law, after Coca-Cola Amatil, Schweppes and Lion sued the Territory Government.

The Territory Government pledged to continue its Scheme by paying for container refunds.

In April 2013 the Territory Government secured support from all Australian jurisdictions for a bid to get a Commonwealth exemption to keep their scheme going.


In May 2013 the Tasmanian Government moved towards implementing a state-based container deposit scheme by allocating $50,000 from the state budget for a cost benefit analysis of a scheme in the state.

New South Wales

NSW Environment Minister is leading a push for the introduction of a national container deposit levy. In May thousands of signatures from NSW voters wanting a 10 cent refund for their bottles and cans were presented to the Deputy Premier at Sydney Parliament House.


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