2023 is the year, Australia will be fully covered by container refund schemes (CRS) resulting in billions of drink containers being recycled every year. Even Coca Cola, which vehemently opposed a CRS is now championing their involvement.
Victoria and Tasmania will be announcing their Network Operators soon and they will then get to work rolling out refund points. What’s next? you may ask.
We are now focussed on expanding the types of containers, that the CRS covers. First off are wine and spirits and larger drink containers up to 3L. Each state and territory are currently consulting on the change which will add several billion containers for recycling. A decision is expected this year. We were pleased to receive the support of the incoming NSW government and if a national harmonised approach is taking too long, Boomerang is encouraging one or more states to act unilaterally.
Another improvement that could eventuate is to expand the CRS to non-beverage containers. Interestingly the Australian Beverages Council is investigating this. Such a move would help Australia go some way to reach its national packaging target of 70% recycling by 2025. Currently plastic recycling sits at a low 16%.
Next cab off the rank is to review the current 10c refund. It is low by international standards and over time will lose its incentive impact due to inflation. This will lead to a reduction in returns, as occurred in South Australia when the refund was 5c. The proposal to increase it to 10c was opposed by the beverage companies. We anticipate the same will occur with a proposal to increase it to 20c and are planning our next moves.
Ideally Australia should have a 90+% return rate.