ACT government encouraging locals to earn for recycling

The ACT government is making it easier to receive refunds for bottles and cans when recycling. Chris Steel, City Services Minister stated ‘the technology we are implementing at the Woden Container Deposit Scheme Depot is reverse Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) technology. We think this will halve the time that it takes for people to return their containers and collect their cash deposit' (1).

The system is similar to the kiosk styles rolled out across New South Wales in 2017, but these machines are connected to an ATM. David Singh, the Re Group Managing Director stated that these machines ‘provide cash so rather than receiving a voucher that you need to spend at certain stores the consumer is receiving cash for their efforts' (1). Minister Steels says the successful trial at Dundas Court will see more machines rolled out across Canberra. 

Container Deposit Schemes have been rolled across many states in Australia including South Australia, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Queensland with other states likely to follow (2).


Benefits of recycling practices

Container Deposit Schemes have been established in the mentioned to encourage and support increased recycling. By reducing the number of beverage containers that litter the environment communities will see many benefits including conserving natural resources, reducing energy usage, saving landfill space, decreasing pollution and generating savings (3).

Recycling containers and other products avoid using natural resources like coal, oil, trees, water and minerals. Paper, for example, can be recycled up to 7 times. When a paper is recycled the process uses 90% less water than when a paper is made from scratch (3). Other materials like aluminium, glass and steel can be recycled infinitely. With this in mind, it does suggest unnecessary use of natural resources to manufacture products is not beneficial when already available for use.

Container deposit schemes and other proven recycling practices reduce energy usage. Creating products from a virgin source can use substantial energy. Recycling processes leads to the use of less energy (2). Recycling paper uses up to 50% less energy than making it from virgin materials (3). Extraction, refinement, transportation and processing of raw materials use significant energy while recycling reduces energy expenditure (4).

With the ever-growing global population comes increased waste and demand for landfill space. Recycling items like containers save space that can be used for waste disposal (3). Recycling is a key aspect to slowing down the rate at which landfills are being used. This positive practice reduces the need for new waste disposal facilities. Landfill facilities are ever-increasing – in Melbourne, there has been a suggestion that local landfill sites will reach their capacity in the coming years whereby they will close and new landfill sites will need to be created (3).

The practice of recycling also impacts the environment in that it reduces pollution. Landfill sites ‘emit dangerous toxins, leachate and greenhouse gases' (3). A landfill is not pleasing to the eye, has a foul smell and are filled with flies. One gas that is contributing to creating a bad odour and attracting flies is methane. Methane is produced when organic materials breakdown without oxygen. Landfill practice includes covering organic materials and as a result, methane is produced. Methane, a well-known by-product of organic material breaking down, it is ‘a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide'. (5)

A final benefit of recycling is generating savings. When individuals and communities recycle not only will they reduce the production of greenhouse gases they will assist in saving precious resources. As an example, each year in Victoria kerbside recycling saves the amount of water to fill more the 4500 Olympic swimming pools or over 11,000 megalitres. Further, this practice prevents 386,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere which is comparable to taking 64,000 cars off the road in one year (6).

Recycling has many benefits and having a visual of these benefits can be useful. Did you know that ‘recycling just six aluminium cans you can save enough energy to offset the carbon emissions from a 10km journey in an average-size car, a 17km bus ride or 25km train trip'? While recycling one glass jar saves enough energy to power a fluorescent bulb for 20 hours or a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. Further, when a community recycles 1 tonne of steel this saves over 1000kg of iron ore, 633 kg of coal and 54g of limestone from being used.

Recycling and the use of Container Deposit Schemes like those being introduced in places like the Australia Capital territory have many benefits for the environment and to generate savings. One plastic bottle alone that is being recycled in a facility like Dundas Court will save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes (6).

With states like South Australia, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Queensland already successfully implementing Container Deposit Schemes, it is great news for the future of this country that other states and territories like the Australian Capital Territory are doing the same. ACT will too reap the benefits of recycling that are already being generated in the mentioned Australian locations.


  1. WIN News Canberra, 9 August 2019
  2. https://www. initiatives-advocacy- information/container-deposit- schemes/
  3. au/environmental-benefits-of- recycling/
  4. https://www.sustainability. Waste-and-recycling/Recycling/ Why-recycle
  5. http://environmentvictoria.
  6. https://www.sustainability. Waste-and-recycling/Recycling/ Why-recycle