Separately charged deposits
All European deposit systems
Separately charged deposits are common across all European deposit systems including Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands. In these examples, the container deposit amount is clearly listed on both the store shelf and sales receipt.
All Australian states
While all Australian states use a similar method of separately charged deposits, in Australia it is only the deposit containers that are used to communicate the “refund” value, instead of sales receipts and product labels on shelves. Communicating the deposit value only on the container itself misses a key opportunity for public education about the DRS.
Fully refundable deposits
Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Consumers in the province of Newfoundland & Labrador pay a deposit on eligible beverage containers and receive back about 70% of the value when returning their containers for recycling. The deposit is CAD$0.08 (US$0.06) for beer cans and imported bottles, but only CAD$0.05 ($0.04) is refunded. This impacts the province’s collection rate, with only 65% of containers returned for recycling in 2019.
The California Refund Value (CRV) sets out the amount paid to consumers when they recycle beverage containers at certified recycling centers. Minimum refund values have been established for each type of eligible beverage container, set at five cents for each container under 24 ounces and 10 cents for each container 24 ounces or greater. However, unlike most deposit systems, California repays consumers based on weight rather than unit. Typically, consumers will weigh their container and then use a state-supplied conversion formula to calculate the redemption value. For every deposit that consumers pay at checkout, they are most often paid less when redeeming through this “weight-based” system.
Weight-based redemption requires regular updates of the state’s average weight calculation due to the changing variety of container sizes and weights on the market. The most obvious example is when redeeming plastic bottles, because brands are continuously innovating their packaging to reduce container weights. Conversely, unit-based container redemption is straightforward, with one deposit for one container.