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Cans & Plastic Bottles Required to Make $1000



Historically, economic or monetary incentives have been very effective in persuading the general masses towards a desired course of action. The same is the case with Deposit Return Schemes (DRS); laying the foundations on reverse vending machines, DRS can be implemented to increase the recycling rates so as to move towards achieving the ultimate goal of zero-waste generation. A lot many factors go into the design of effective DRS so that more and more people could benefit from recycling the packaging of the consumables.

Overview of Deposit Return Schemes (DRS)

Essentially, DRS are market-based instruments to address the externalities i.e., climate change and global warming. The potential benefits of DRS include but aren’t limited to:

  • Reduction in illegal dumping via financial incentives
  • Easier monitoring and enforcement
  • Reduction in solid-waste management costs

DRS has been implemented in various parts of the globe including Norway, Germany, Canada, 10 American states and Australia, etc. Every country has different rules, regulations, and deposit rates to follow, a few of which are discussed as below:


In selective US states, deposit incentive per piece varies from $0.05 to $0.10. If $0.075 is taken as the average number, the approximately 13.3K bottles or cans need to be deposited in order to make $1,000 out of them.


Being part of Europe, Germany has one of the higher recycling rates in the world. By depositing a single bottle or can, consumers can claim 25 euro cents. It shows that approximately 4,000 packages need to be deposited for making 1,000 euros.


In Hawaii, the deposit return scheme was implemented in 2005. Currently, the rate of DRS stands at $0.05 per package. Mathematically, consumers need to deposit 20,000 bottles or cans for getting $1000.


In Canada, DRS has been implemented in different provinces. For example, in Ontario, rates range from 10 cents to 20 cents for glass containers, cans and polyethylene terephthalate, etc. If the average number is 15 cents, then one needs to deposit approximately 6.6K packages for making $1000 this way.


In Australia, DRS is generally known as Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) and has primarily been implemented in the southern part of the country. Via this framework, customers can deposit cans and bottles, etc. to the vending spots and get a refund of 10 cents; 10,000 packages need to be deposited in-order to make $1000 under the umbrella of CDS.

Key Considerations for Implementation of DRS

While technology can be leveraged for the effective implementation of DRS, it is worth noting that all stakeholders need to be taken onboard before enforcing such a framework. It is essential because the monetary incentive is a refund that customers have to pay in advance i.e., pricing of the product needs to be adjusted; it can also affect the supply/demand mechanism for the elastic products. More so, to achieve higher recycling rates, the service network of reverse vending machines should be expanded for enabling the masses to take part in the DRS. Not only it will require advanced technological know-how but some capital investment as well.


Given the nature of environmental threats which humans face today, it has become critical to implement the deposit return schemes on a larger scale with a wider scope. Not only it will incentivize customers to orient their consumption towards a sustainable manner but also will improve the recycling rates overall. Not only relevant legislation needs to be done in both developing and developed countries for DRS but also awareness needs to be created on a mass level to get all the players on board who can then play their roles for saving the planet earth.


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