I recently photographed an event for Tomra/Cleanaway out at their sorting facilty in Geelong. This was a cross bewteen an event shoot and industrial photography.It was a great opportunity for me to capture this event, not in any small part to gain an understanding of the people and processes involved. 

The Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) in Melbourne, known as “Containers for Change,” is a program designed to encourage recycling by offering a financial incentive for returning eligible beverage containers. Here’s an overview of how the scheme works:


  • Reduce litter: By providing a monetary reward for recycling, the scheme aims to reduce the amount of litter in the environment.
  • Increase recycling rates: The incentive encourages more people to recycle, thereby increasing overall recycling rates.
  • Support a circular economy: The scheme promotes the reuse of materials, contributing to a more sustainable economy.

Eligible Containers

  • Most beverage containers made from aluminum, glass, plastic, steel, and liquid paperboard are eligible.
  • Typically, containers between 150ml and 3 liters are included.
  • Exclusions often include plain milk containers, wine bottles, and large containers over 3 liters.

How It Works

  1. Collection Points: There are numerous collection points, including reverse vending machines, depots, and mobile collection services.
  2. Return and Refund: Individuals return their eligible containers to a collection point and receive a refund, usually 10 cents per container.
  3. Processing: Collected containers are transported to recycling facilities where they are processed and reused.


  • Environmental Impact: Reduces waste and litter, conserves natural resources, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Economic Opportunities: Creates jobs in the recycling and waste management sectors.
  • Community Engagement: Encourages community participation and awareness about recycling and environmental conservation.


  • Individuals: Anyone can participate by collecting and returning eligible containers.
  • Businesses: Many businesses, especially those that sell beverages, are involved in the scheme, either by providing collection points or by supporting recycling efforts.


  • Accessibility: Ensuring convenient access to collection points for all residents, including those in remote or rural areas.
  • Public Awareness: Continually educating the public about the scheme and the importance of recycling.

The Container Deposit Scheme is an important initiative for promoting sustainability and reducing waste in Melbourne.