Northern Territory

The Northern Territory's Environment Protection Act was passed in February 2011. The territory government is still working to implement its component Cash for Containers system, which will commence January 3, 2012.

In short, the law will ban the sale of single-use plastic bags and put a 10¢ deposit on most beverage containers.

For up-to-date information on the implementation process, visit the Cash for Containers site set up by the territory government. To view information about the bill that became this law and the system it set up, visit the Northern Territory proposed legislation page.

Law Name Environment Protection (Beverage Containers and Plastic Bags) Act 2011.
Beverages Covered Flavored milks and fruit juices (less than 1L);
Vitamin drinks, Soft drinks, Water – still and sparkling, Sport drinks, Iced teas, Beer / ales / stouts / cider, Alcoholic sodas, Spirit-based beverages, Some wine-based beverages (up to 3L)
Containers Covered All approved containers of the size and contents listed above
Deposits 10¢
Handling Fees Collection depots may be compensated for "reasonable costs" related to handling the containers by the CDS coordinator to whom they deliver the container.
Reclamation System Approved Collection Depots
Unredeemed Deposits
Text of Law Act No. 2, 2011


Under the Northern Territory legislation, every container sold in the territory must be included in a Waste Management Agreement in accordance with the CDS Principles [PDF]. These principles, which are deliberately designed to be as flexible as possible while encouraging the system's success, are established by the Minister of the Environment, separately from the legislation.

Shortly before the legislation came into effect, the Northern Territory signed an agreement with neighboring state South Australia, the first and only other Australian state to have a container deposit law. According to a press release, "The agreement is a commitment to work towards aligning their container deposit schemes with a view to allow people to get a refund on drink containers bought in either jurisdiction." The agreement also addresses the issues of minimizing border fraud and increasing recovery and recycling while reducing litter.

The legislation enacting the deposit law also included a ban on single-use plastic bags.



Updated February 5, 2015