Container deposit legislation in Australia
Container deposit legislation (CDL) is in place in the Australian state of South Australia and the Northern Territory, and was used in the state of Victoria but has since been rescinded. Attempts to introduce similar legislation in other states have been unsuccessful to date. Some contentious research with a small sample size has found a majority in favour of the scheme,  and a national scheme has also been proposed. The value of deposits and the scope of their application have been influenced by the Australian federal constitution's guarantee of free trade between the states. The defining case in this issue was the attempt to introduce a differential between reusable and recyclable bottle deposits. The issue was taken to the High Court of Australia in the Castlemaine Tooheys Ltd v South Australia court case.
CDL by state
CDL in South Australia was put in place under the Beverage Container Act 1975 (SA) and came into operation in 1977. Environment Protection Act 1993 (SA) now governs the levying and refund of deposits.
There is a refund of 10 cents per can or bottle (raised from 5 cents in late 2008). In the 1970s deposits ranged from 20c for a 30 oz bottle and 10c for a 10 oz and 6½ oz bottle. With the introduction of plastic and non re-usable bottles the deposit was reduced to 5c (including aluminium cans). This amount remained unchanged for around thirty years.
Around 600 people are employed in the recovery of bottles in South Australia. Groups such as the Scouts operate container refund depots. While there are professional collectors who collect on an arranged basis from particular venues (e.g. pubs and restaurants), usually operating small trucks for the job, there are also many socially marginalised collectors who forage in refuse bins etc. for discarded deposit bottles; these collectors often travel by bicycle, sometimes with relatively elaborate and inventive modifications to allow them to carry the bulky loads of bottles they find.
The Northern Territory introduced a container deposit scheme similar to South Australia's from 3 January 2012. This was challenged in the Federal Court by Coca-Cola Amatil, Schweppes Australia and Lion Pty Ltd and ceased on the 4th of March 2013. Immediately after the Federal Court loss, the NT government stepped in to personally keep the scheme going until such time as a permanent exemption to the Mutual Recognition Act could be secured. On the 7th of August 2013 the Federal Executive Council (ExCo) ratified the permanent exemption making the NT container deposit scheme permanent.
In 2009 the Victorian Greens introduced a bill for a 10c deposit scheme and it was passed in the upper house but the government quashed the bill in the lower house, allegedly on constitutional grounds, by refusing to allow it to be debated. Despite supporting the Greens' bill when in opposition, when it later became the government the Coalition decided it would not back a bottle refund scheme. Instead, it said it would support a national scheme if one was created.
- "Container deposit scheme gathers momentum". Transport & Logistics News. 7 August 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Greens MP pushes for drink bottle, can recycling plan". The Daily Telegraph. 2009-03-31.
- "Beverage Container Act 1975". Government of South Australia. 1975. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- "South Australian Legislation - Environment Protection Act 1993". Attorney-General's Department, Government of South Australia. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Beverage Container Legislation in Australia
- What are Bottle Bills - Green Party
- "Coca-Cola wins Federal Court case, cash for containers recycling found illegal". News.com.au.
- "Container deposit scheme back on full-bottle track". www.abc.net.au.
- McMahon, Stephen (25 June 2009). "Brumby Government halts Greens law to reintroduce bottle deposit system". HeraldSun. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- Lucas, Clay (2012-03-05). "Baillieu retreats on bottle refund scheme". The Age. Retrieved 2013-01-25.