ACT CDS celebrates National Recycling Week with launch of impact calculator

National Recycling week

“Sometimes the world’s environmental problems can seem overwhelming,” said Danielle Smalley, CEO of Exchange for Change, the organisation charged with administering the ACT Container Deposit Scheme.

“However, the ACT Container Deposit Scheme, where the ACT community have collectively returned over 366 million containers for recycling through both the return point network and kerbside collections, is an amazing example of how individual action can have a positive collective impact.”

The ACT Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), an ACT Government initiative, targets commonly littered items, and includes most 150ml to three litre plastic, glass, aluminium, steel, and liquid paperboard drink containers.

Eligible containers featuring the 10c refund mark can be redeemed for ten cents each via the ACT return point network made up of depots, pods, and a reverse-vending machine, managed by the scheme’s network operator, Return-It.

“The scheme is a great example of how we all need to take responsibility for the future of our planet,” Ms Smalley said.

Waste isn’t waste until it’s wasted is the theme for this year’s National Recycling Week. And the ACT Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) helps ACT locals do just that – reduce waste and recycle better,” she added.

By using the scheme, you ensure your drink containers don’t end up as litter or landfill. Instead, those bottles and cans form part of a clean stream of recyclable materials that get remade into new drink containers and other products, reducing the need for virgin materials.

“Understanding the positive impact of your recycling is a great motivator to keep going and to encourage others to do the same. Which is why we created the ACT CDS Impact Calculator – it’s an easy way for people to understand the environmental benefits of recycling through the scheme,” said Ms Smalley.

The new digital tool is based on an independent life cycle assessment, undertaken by Lifecycles Australia. It reviewed three years of the scheme’s consumer return data and the energy needed to run return points all the way to the fuel used by trucks to collect the containers and transport them to a recycler.

Users are invited to input the number of containers they have returned for recycling. The Impact Calculator then calculates the water, energy, and landfill savings as well as the carbon emissions avoided from recycling through the scheme.

“We use everyday examples like water savings in minutes showering and energy saved to power your TV to help people to relate to and to understand the importance of recycling,” said Ms Smalley.

“An innovative toggle bar also lets users see the collective impact if everyone in the ACT returned the same number of containers, to highlight the positive impact people’s everyday choices can have,” she said.

For more information on the ACT CDS and to calculate your impact, visit