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Small change for a big change – will Victorians embrace the Container Deposit Scheme?

RMIT University 3 mins read

RMIT experts say the success of Victoria’s newly introduced Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) relies on the right pitch and reinforcing new habits to motivate people to participate. 

Dr Linda Robinson, Head of Department, Marketing 

Topics: habits, consumer behaviour, recycling storage 

“While the CDS sounds like a surefire win to increase household recycling through a cash incentive, the reality is that Victorian households will need to reshape their individual practices to make returning their containers part of their ingrained habits. 

“People's housing situation and access to recycling facilities are factors that will determine how a consumer engages in the scheme. 

“There are additional steps and efforts a household needs to undertake to return their eligible containers compared to the traditional commingled recycling bins we are used too. 

“The type of home you live in plays a role in the feasibility and practicality of recycling, with single-family houses typically showing higher recycling rates than those living in apartments. 

“Accessibility of refund points to most Victorian households will also be crucial to the scheme, particularly in high density areas where storing containers is a lot harder. 

“Space for storing recycling plays a big role in facilitating or inhibiting recycling, and separated recycling requires more storage solutions than a traditional commingled recycling bin. 

“It is important that consumers can see how to make it work for their household, such as neat and clean ways to store containers alongside their regular rubbish and recycling, as well as how to carry or transport them to a refund point. 

“It’s not just the habit of collecting and storing the containers, but the actual practice of returning the containers that will be important for consumers.  

“Promoting strategies for returning containers will be an important factor, such as encouraging consumers to put ‘return containers’ at the top of their shopping list each week as part of their normal shopping habits. 

“Having the ability to return a small number of containers regularly will help consumers form more ingrained recycling habits."

Dr Linda Robinson’s research addresses the management of service teams and the links to the self-beliefs and motivations of service employees; retail services and category captains; the decision-making processes of under-resourced consumers; and the practices influencing household waste. 

Fatima Madani, Lecturer in Marketing 

Topics: consumer behaviour, incentives, instant rewards 

“To meet the Victorian Government’s target of diverting 80% of all material away from landfill by 2030, the CDS needs to constantly improve, and sustain people's behaviours.  

“It will be interesting to see how Victorians engage in the scheme and if they adopt it as a daily life routine and become active participants.  

“To encourage faster adoption and greater participation from the public, the government, as well as community groups and businesses benefiting from the scheme, need to practice constant communication, instil convenient processes and create ongoing connection. 

“These are key pillars which will lead to repeated behaviour, continued engagement, a new recycling mindset and lifestyle changes.  

“Offering incentives is a well-established external reinforcement to encourage individual behaviour.  

“Sustainability motives alone don’t encourage mass participation, and so a monetary incentive is necessary to drive people to improve their recycling practices.  

“Other than individual financial benefits, there are other economic benefits to the CDS such as new jobs and economic opportunities.   

“These benefits have more concrete and immediate outcomes that act as motives for people to change their behaviour.  

“This is in comparison with when recycling schemes promote a green society for the future as the incentive, which consumers find more difficult to connect with.  

“Maybe the government could adopt similar practices to further improve our sustainable behaviours. 

“People need to remember that perfection takes time and the CDS has just been launched, so it's important for everyone to exercise patience while the scheme fully materialises. 

“Hopefully the government continues to create awareness and build interest and adopt improved methods so it’s not a wasted opportunity.”    

Fatima Madani researches quantitative marketing, with a specific focus on retailing (store loyalty, fair-trade products), consumer analytics (alcohol consumption, healthy food consumption, consumption coping, food packaging), and consumer behaviour (political ideology, tight and loose culture). 

Contact details:



Dr Linda Robinson, +613 9925 5863 or

Fatima Madani+613 9925 4124 or  


General media enquiries: RMIT External Affairs and Media, 0439 704 077 or

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