Celebrate container returns in the ACT with a free coffee and a cookie!

Cookie Coffee Container returns

15th November 2021

Celebrate container returns in the ACT with a free coffee and a cookie!

To say thank you to the community for embracing the ACT Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), Canberrans can enjoy a free coffee and a cookie when they return containers to any ACT CDS cash-back depot on Saturday 20 November from 9am-11am.

The ACT CDS, which celebrated its third anniversary at the end of June, is proving increasingly popular, with 55 percent of ACT residents (18+) having now participated in the scheme according to the latest consumer research.

Launched as a litter reduction initiative, the scheme has seen over 277.2 million containers returned since commencement to 30 September of this year, resulting in more than $6.3 million in refunds back in the hands of the community.

“It’s inspiring to see the local community make the ACT Container Deposit Scheme part of their everyday life. Nearly two-thirds of ACT residents have ensured their drink containers avoid ending up as litter and landfill, and instead turned into a valuable recycled commodity,” said Danielle Smalley, CEO of scheme coordinator Exchange for Change.

“Alongside the environmental benefit of less litter and more recycling, the scheme is also delivering strong community benefits as it becomes an increasingly important fundraising channel for many community groups and local schools,” added Danielle.

Local tourist attraction Canberra Reptile Zoo is currently using container returns to fundraise for its star attraction—a rapidly growing saltwater crocodile who will need a new enclosure before he reaches his full size.

Ten-year-old Charlie collects bottles and cans from friends, family and neighbours, which he takes to his local Return-It return point in Phillip. With the 10 cent refunds, he buys toys for the children at Canberra Hospital’s Ronald McDonald House (RMH). His mum volunteers at RMH, and Charlie wanted to help too. He says that when he realised that he could recycle to help the planet and fundraise at the same time “it was a lightbulb moment”.

Meanwhile, retired couple Margaret and Paul McGrath use the ACT CDS to fundraise for Ngunnawal Street Pantries. They established the street pantries in 2019 to help locals who were struggling. While the pantries are mostly stocked through donations of non-perishable food and clothes, the container refunds create an income stream for additional items such as fresh food and toiletries.

“It’s great to see the scheme having a positive impact on the ACT community. We all look forward to more Canberrans participating and seeing the difference it continues to make to the ACT community and environment.” said David Singh, Managing Director of ReGroup, which operates Return-It, network operator for the scheme.

There are 22 return points across the ACT including cash-back depots in Fyshwick, Mitchell, Phillip and Belconnen. For more information about the ACT CDS, including your nearest return point, visit

The ACT CDS is a partnership between the ACT Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator Return-It.

The coffee carts for this free coffee and cookie activation will operate at the four cash-back depots from 9am-11am on Saturday 20 November. Individually wrapped cookies will be available while supplies last.