Recycling FAQ - AAA Recycling Centre Adelaide

Frequently Asked Questions


Is AAA Recycling Centre open on Public Holidays?

No. We are open 7 days a week but close for public holidays

Which beverage containers are eligible for a 10c refund?
Most beverage containers sold in South Australia can be returned to AAA Recycling Centre for a refund. Check the label on the container. If it says ‘10c refund at collection depots when sold in SA’ we will pay you for it.
A very small number of beverage containers are refunded from the place of purchase. You cannot bring these items to AAA Recycling Centre for a refund.
How can I identify if a beverage container is refundable?

10c Container Deposit Refund Label - AAA Recycling Centre AdelaideIf  a beverage container bears the approved refund marking and it was purchased in South Australia it can be returned to AAA Recycling Centre. View the EPA Guide for more details.

Why doesn’t the container deposit scheme apply to all beverage containers?

The container deposit scheme commenced in 1977 to reduce the problem caused by littered beverage containers. Over time it has been extended to cover other frequently littered containers used for bottled waters, small flavoured milk cartons, sports drinks, spirit based ready to drink beverages (whisky, cola, etc).

Do I have to sign a declaration form if I return a large numbers of containers?

Yes. The South Australian container deposit scheme is only for containers sold in South Australia. Details provided on the declaration forms enable the EPA to monitor and follow up on the delivery of large volumes of containers to depots.

A maximum penalty of $30,000 can apply to persons who seek refunds on beverage containers sold outside of South Australia. Penalties also apply to persons providing false information on the declaration forms.

Do I have to sort my containers before bringing them to AAA Recycling Centre?

No. There is no obligation for you to sort containers before bringing them to AAA Recycling Centre, however, sorting and counting your containers into the various material types such as plastic water bottles, glass bottles, cans and cartons and making a written note of the number of each container type may save time when you bring them in.

Will AAA Recycling Centre accept crushed cans or containers without labels?
AAA Recycling Centre are not obliged to accept containers that do not have a refund statement clearly visible.
Although squashing and flattening cans makes it easier to collect and store, we would prefer you don’t crush cans as it makes it difficult to identify the brand, see deposit refund markings and whether they have been sold in SA or in another state. Crushed cans also have sharp edges which can cause handling risks.
Do the lids need to be removed from plastic bottles?
Yes. Please remove the tops / lids from beverage containers before you bring them to AAA Recycling Centre:
  • it will save you time. The tops / lids must be removed BEFORE AAA Recycling Centre can accept them
  • plastic tops are usually a different type of plastic to the bottle – they must be separated for recycling
  • leaving tops on containers can cause storage and transport problems. Plastic bottles with tops can explode when they’re compressed under high-pressure, causing the plastic bales to break apart.
Do I need to remove the labels from bottles?

No.  Labels are fine, just no lids or liquid!

Can AAA Recycling Centre refuse to accept my containers?
Yes. There are several reasons why we may refuse to accept your containers:
  • if they are unclean or contaminated (ie containing paint, needles, etc),
  • the refund marking is illegible or not visible.
  • if we believe that the containers were not sold in SA and may have been purchased interstate, or
  • if you refuse to complete a declaration when asked to do so.
What are recycled plastic bottles used for?

They are recycled into other plastic items, eg pillow and sleeping bag stuffing, carpet, building insulation, fleece jackets, plastic buckets, fencing, pipes and plastic bottles.

What happens to glass bottles when they are recycled?

Typically, the glass bottles that are recycled in SA will previously have contained alcoholic beverages and will be one of three colours; clear, brown or green. These different coloured glass bottles are separated for recycling. Glass will be turned into new glass bottles or fibreglass insulation, water filtration material or abrasives such as sandpaper.

Does container deposit legislation reduce littering in SA?
According to the most recent advice from KESAB (July  2016), the Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index shows that only 2.9% of litter in South Australia are beverage containers. Northern Territory, the only other Australian jurisdiction currently with a container deposit scheme leads the country with 2.8% of its litter being beverage containers and Western Australia with 13% of its litter being beverage containers.
Clearly, container deposit legislation is highly successful in reducing beverage container litter.
What benefits can be attributed to container deposit?
Key benefits of container deposit scheme in Australia include:
  • Low litter rates – South Australia and Northern Territory have the lowest rate of beverage containers found in litter in Australia.
  • High resource recovery – rather than rely on new resources for production of beverage containers, the recovery and recycling of containers conserves resources and reduces pollution and energy consumption
  • Reduced waste to landfill – the recovery of beverage containers through the container deposit scheme (in 2016–17 almost 600 million bottles and cans) means that there is much less waste sent to landfill.
How many beverage containers are returned and recycled in South Australia?

South Australia has the highest recovery and recycling of beverage containers of any Australian state. The return rate for 2016–17 was 79.9%.

Do South Australians like the container deposit scheme?

The scheme was awarded Heritage Icon status in 2006 recognising it as something that contributes to the quality of life in South Australia.

The container deposit scheme is perceived by the overwhelming majority to have been effective in reducing recyclable containers going to landfill (92%), reducing litter in South Australia (97%) and encouraging recycling/reuse of drink containers (98%), all showing increases since the previous study.
You won’t find empty cans and bottles on South Australian beaches, parks or streets!

SA Recycling Fast Facts

Households benefiting from refunds
Recycling rate since refunds introduced
Support for container deposits
Drink container litter since refund scheme

Green is Good!

Recycling 40th Anniversary - AAA Recycling Centre Adelaide

AAA Recycling Centre is committed to providing an ecologically sustainable recycling facility that will enable our customers to contribute to the well-being of our environment – by recycling their cans, PET containers, glass beverage bottles, milk + fruit juice cartons, scrap metals (ferrous and non-ferrous) and batteries.

Beverage Container Refund Guide

Items we CAN recycle

  • Deposit-bearing bottles ($)
  • Plastic bottles ($)
  • Aluminium cans ($)
  • Milk and juice cartons ($)
  • Wine bottles and glass jars
  • Steel cans
  • Food tins
  • Mobile phones
  • Paper, newspapers and magazines
  • Cardboard
  • Film plastic eg. plastic bags
Recycle Mobile Phones - AAA Recycling Centre Adelaide

Scrap Metal Recycling - AAA Recycling Centre Adelaide

  • Scrap metal ($) including:
  • Stainless steel
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Cast aluminium
  • Aluminium
  • Electrical cables
  • Steel (car bodies, whitegoods)
  • Electric motors, batteries, radiators

Items we CAN’T recycle

Non-Recyclable Items - AAA Recycling Centre Adelaide
  • Polystyrene
  • Oil
  • Tyres
  • Gas bottles
  • Asbestos
  • Cars