The Mirror News

Here’s cheers to locals recycling drink containers

• FFNC member and volunteer Stephen Perks and club vice president
Noel Afflitto with the Return-It machine.

A ROYAL blue reverse vending machine that distributes 10 cents to individuals, to registered local community groups and services, sports clubs, or to public charities in exchange for each and every eligible drink container is now in operation in Foster.

Located on the outside wall at the south-eastern end of the Foster Football Netball Club (FFNC) rooms at the Foster Showgrounds, the Return-It machine is among the first of 600 or so refund points in Victoria’s new container deposit scheme, CDS Vic.

The machine is open and ready to receive eligible aluminium cans, plastic and glass bottles, and cardboard cartons for recycling seven days a week between 7 am and 7 pm.

Victorian Minister for Environment Steve Dimopoulos launched CDS Vic state-wide on Wednesday November 1, 2023.

“Our new Container Deposit Scheme is now open, which will reduce the amount of litter in Victoria by up to half, contributing to a more sustainable future, while putting money back in the pockets of hardworking Victorians,” he said.

“CDS Vic will maximise the number of cans, bottles and cartons being recycled into new products and keep them out of landfill.”

Return-it Victoria operates CDS Vic in the eastern half of the State for the Government, and also administers the CDS Vic East Return-It app, which allows the scheme’s users to configure their preferred payment method, including bank transfer, PayPal, or a donation to a charity or a local community group. 

FFNC member and volunteer Stephen Perks said Foster’s Return-It machine was delivered on Friday October 27 and installed on Tuesday October 31.

“Club members, builder Mark ‘Buddy’ Prain and electrician Shaun Roffey, kindly came at very short notice indeed to pour a concrete slab, put up an open-fronted shed and connect the power for the machine so it was ready first thing on Wednesday,” he said.

“By Friday morning November 3, the machine had already accepted roughly 1500 containers, had electronically paid about $150 to donors’ and organisations’ bank accounts, and had been emptied into the purple-lidded CDS Vic bins twice!”

Stephen said the announcement of the CDS Vic scheme gave him the idea that the FFNC rooms would be an ideal location for a Return-It machine and he began researching how to go about it earlier this year.

“The Club gave me its blessing to go ahead and apply for a machine about three months ago, and now it’s here and in full service,” he said.

“Place all bottles and cans, bottoms in first and in their original shape, into the machine, which scans the barcodes on the labels, registers what they are and sorts them accordingly, and then crushes the cans, plastic bottles and cartons, with glass bottles going into their own compartment.

“The machine keeps a count of how many containers it has been fed and keeps a tally of the total refund that’s payable,” Stephen said.

“Users are given the option of donating some or all of their refunds to a registered charity such as Scouts Victoria or to local clubs, and community organisations like the FFNC, or having the money deposited into their own bank account,” he said.

“The machine issues a printed receipt showing the total amount refunded, where it was allocated to, and the number and type of containers returned.”

Stephen said the FFNC was now registered with Return-It as a local refund recipient, and that other local groups and services like schools and kindergartens, hospitals, community houses and environmental groups were also welcomed to apply for CDS Vic registration codes.

“The Returned Services League (RSL) Foster Sub-branch and the Yanakie General Store have both agreed to contribute their empties to the FFNC, which will certainly make a difference to the Club’s fundraising efforts,” he said.

“The FFNC is also very pleased to report that the Club’s, in fact the Foster township’s, long-term aluminium can collector, Craig Bath, is an enthusiastic supporter of the CDS Vic Return-It machine,” Stephen said.

“Craig is a Very Important Person around the FFNC, and we discussed the plan of getting the Return-It with him before anything else was done to make sure he was okay with it.

“Craig is very excited that he doesn’t have to crush his cans anymore, and that the scope of his collecting and his profit has actually quadrupled because now he can pick up and return the right type of plastic and glass bottles and cartons as well as his beloved cans!”

As well as using the CDS Vic reverse vending machines, people may also take their eligible containers to collection depots, over-the-counter sites, and pop-up refund points, with more of all four types steadily becoming available as the network grows.

South Gippsland Shire Council’s transfer stations at Foster, Koonwarra and Walkerville are CDS Vic over-the-counter sites, as is the Fish Creek Hotel, and Meeniyan IGA Supermarket has a Return-It reverse vending machine.

The network of refund points to recycle containers will continue to grow in 2024 – making the scheme even more accessible to Victorians.

Returned containers will be given a new lease on life, with their material recycled and remanufactured into a new product, saving it from landfill or littering the environment.

CDS Vic will target beverage containers that most commonly contribute to litter and are often consumed away from home. This includes plastic soft drink bottles, glass beer bottles, soft drinks and alcohol sold in cans, and small fruit juice cartons.

To learn more about CDS Vic, to find the nearest refund point closest to you, and to register your charity or community group, visit


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