Bottle Bill Resource Guide

South Australia was the first Australian state to enact deposit legislation. As other states follow suit with proposed deposit refund systems, this system is commonly used as their model.

Law Summary Environment Protection Act 1993, Part 8, Division 2: Beverage Containers.
Purpose of Legislation "This Division establishes a litter control and waste management system for beverage containers through a regulatory scheme." [1]
Date Implemented Deposit legislation implemented in 1975. Integrated with Environment Protection Act in 1993
Beverages Covered

Beverages ≤250mL [2]:

  • Wine in plastic or in sachets

Beverages ≤1L:

  • Water in (aseptic packs or casks)
  • Wine/wine-based flavoured beverages (in aseptic packs or casks)
  • Pure fruit/vegetable juice
  • Flavoured milk

Beverages ≤3L:

  • Water (all materials except aseptic packs)
  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Non-carbonated soft drinks (ex. vitamin drinks, sports drinks, and teas)
  • Beers, ales, and stouts
  • Spirits/liquor
  • Wine-based flavoured beverages (all materials except aseptic packs)
Beverages Not Covered
  • All beverages ≥3L
  • Wine in glass containers
  • Unflavoured milk
  • Concentrated fruit/vegetable juice
  • Registered health tonics
  • Undiluted cordials
Amount of Deposit

10¢ AUD

Fees and Taxes

Annual collection depot operation fee [3]:

  • Located in metropolitan Adelaide: $328.50 AUD
  • Located outside metropolitan Adelaide: $164.25 AUD
Program Success

Success rate(2019-2020) [4]:

  • Total Return Rate: 76.7%
  • Aluminum 82.1%
  • Liquid Paperboard 52.6%
  • Glass 87.8%
  • PET 65.1%
  • HDPE 62.3%
  • Success rate(2018-2019):

    • Total Return Rate: 76.4%
    • Aluminum 82.9%
    • Liquid Paperboard 49.1%
    • Glass 83.4%
    • PET 68.0%
    • HDPE 64.1%

    Success rate(2016-2017):

    • Total Return Rate: 79.9%
    • Aluminum 88.8%
    • Liquid Paperboard 67.4%
    • Glass 84.9%
    • PET 65.8%
    • HDPE 53.5%



    How South Australia's Deposit System Works

    The Recyclers of South Australia have put together a detailed chart on their website explaining the steps in the deposit-return process. This is a duplicate version.

    Step 1
    Beverage Filler

    Wholesaler supplies to retailers. The 10 cent deposit and an agreed handling fee is included in the wholesale price of the beverage.

    The deposit and handling fee is retained by the beverage filler or their agent who operates as the collection co-ordinator. This is held until the deposit containers are returned to them to be recycled.

    Step 2
    (Hotels, Delicatessens, Supermarkets etc)

    Supply consumers. The 10 cent deposit and handling fee is included in the retail price paid by the consumer for the beverage.  

    Step 3
    Consumer (or community groups

    Return deposit containers to recycling depot for full payment, 10 cent deposit.  

    Step 4
    Recycling Depot

    Sort the containers by material and responsible agent, ie. Glass, aluminium, PET, into containers for return to the collection co-ordinators.

    Marine Stores Pty Ltd

    Lion Nathan / SA Brewing and Cooper products
    Fosters Products

    Statewide Recycling
    Coca Cola, Schweppes, and companies marketing a wide range of boutique beers, spring waters etc. (cans, PET and non refillable glass containers)

    Cans - Back to Marine Stores Pty Ltd

    Glass - Broken up, and cullet sent to Beneficiation Plant.

    Glass - Culleted and delivered to the Beneficiation Plan

    Cans - Back to Visy Recycling (Can Co-ordinator)

    Cans, PET, liquid paperboard , other plastics and steel cans back to Statewide Recycling the collection co-ordinator.

    Glass - returned to the Beneficiation Plant.


    Once containers are sorted, they are sent back to the collection co-ordinator, agent for the recycling of material and auditing.

    Collection co-ordinators are:

    Statewide Recycling
    Flagcan Distributors*
    Visy Recycling
    Marine Stores Pty Ltd

    Collection co-ordinators pay the Recycling depot back the 10 cent deposits which they paid out to the consumer in step 3, plus an agreed handling fee.

    *While still approved as a super collector/collection co-ordinator, Flagcan Distributors is not currently operating in the system.




    In 2008, the deposit/refund amount was changed to 10¢ per container, regardless of "Category" (Previously it had been 10¢ for Category A and 5¢ for Category B). According to the South Australia EPA, "The State Government has increased the deposit amount on beverage containers to encourage more South Australians to recycle. By increasing the incentive to recycle, less litter will be seen on our streets and less waste will be sent to landfill."

    The Northern Territory was the second Australian territory to enact a deposit law, which was modeled on the South Australia law. The two territories signed an agreement in 2011 to align their container deposit schemes. The agreement also addresses the issues of minimizing border fraud and increasing recovery and recycling while reducing litter. [5]

    In 2019, Southern Australians were invited to give feedback on how to improve the CDS by the Government of South Austalia. Feedback could be given through completing a survey, emailing, or physically mailing a response, as well as participating in a discussion on the government's online consultation hub, YourSAy. Online feedback reception ended in February 2019. Three meetings were held between the EPA and key stakeholders from February to September 2019. The EPA Board hosted its annual CDS summit in 2019 to facilitate discussion on ways to reform and improve the CDS. A consultation summary report of the review was released in August 2019. Further review and planned reforms are still pending as of December 2020.

    More Information

    Beverage containers do not need to be sorted prior to taking them to a collection depot. Currently, 127 depots operate in South Austalia. To find one, please refer to the EPA's list of approved collection depots. All beverages covered by the CDS in South Australia must carry an appropriate refund marking. An example is shown below:

    Diagram showing specifications of markings for beverage containers

    There are two categories of beverage containers, A and B. Category A containers are approved to be returned for refund to any outlet where that beverage is sold; these comprise less than 1% of beverages sold. Category B containers are approved to be returned to collection depots for a 10-cent refund. Both categories have their own approved refund markings. [6] Beverages may also use common refund marking, which is approved refund marking for use in all Australian jurisdictions operating a container deposite scheme, namely Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.


    [1]  Environmental Protection Act  1993 pt. 8, div. 2, Beverage Containers. (SA). 

    [2] "List of beverages covered by the Environment Protection Act 1993." Environment Protection Agency - South Australia.

    [3] "Collections Depots Guidelines." Environment Protection Agency - South Australia. Last updated July 2020.

    [4] "Beverage Container Return Rates." South Australia Environmental Protection Authority. Last updated 17 September 2020.

    [5] "Historic agreement to coordinate recycling in SA and NT." Legislative Assembly of The Northern Territory. 06 December 2011.

    [6] "Industry Operators." Environment Protection Agency - South Australia. Last upated 10 February 2020.


    Last updated on 10 December 2020.

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    Contact - South Australia

    Environment Protection Agency

    General email: [email protected]

    Container Deposit Legislation

    Tel: (08) 8204 2004
    Email: [email protected]


    Street address
    Level 2, 211 Victoria Square
    Adelaide SA 5000

    Postal address
    GPO Box 2607
    Adelaide SA 5001

    Mount Gambler:

    Street address
    11 Helen Street
    Mount Gambier SA 5291