Container return schemes incentivise consumers and businesses to return beverage containers (eg, bottles, cans etc) for recycling and/or refilling. They do this by including a refundable deposit (eg,10-cents or more) in the price of purchase.
Consumers get their deposit refunded when they return their empty container(s) to a designated scheme drop-off point for recycling.
International schemes provide deposits ranging from 7 to 49 cents (NZ equivalent value) per container.
Container return schemes help to increase recycling rates, reduce litter, and reduce emissions by decreasing the need for virgin packaging production. They operate in a number of countries including Australia, Canada, the USA and Europe. Overseas evidence suggests that once implemented, container return schemes can reduce beverage container litter by 60 per cent or more [Bottle Bill Resouce Guide, NSW EPA, Boomerang Alliance].