The NSW Container Deposit Scheme (Return and Earn) started on 1 December. We are relieved that we have made it to this point when many told us it would never happen.
10c refunds on bottles and cans are a proven solution to the 8 billion or so that currently end up in landfill or in the environment. About 160 million beverage containers are littered in NSW every year. They will now be worth $16 million in refunds!
The CDS has been successful in the Northern Territory which has had refunds for 5 years now, doubling its recycling rate. South Australia has led the nation with a 40 year long history of refunds on single use bottles and cans (85% recycling rate) and many still remember nationwide refunds on refillable glass bottles. These results and the necessary collection points took some time to fully realise.
Eventually, there will be several ways to redeem your 10c refund in NSW. Reverse Vending Machines (many in Woolworths car parks), over the counter collection points (like shops & cafes) and before too long I hope, drive through bulk drop-off centres where families, individuals, community groups, sports clubs etc can take a boot load, trailer load or just a big bag.
You can check out the location of these collection points here. More are being added every day and you can still register to be a collection point or host a Reverse Vending Machine. So if you want more near you, get out and talk to potential site owners and email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
The time to install collection sites has been too short and the initial commitment of 85% of the proposed 500 by 1 December has been reduced to less than 50%. It was never possible to have all sites in place on Day 1 and evidence from schemes elsewhere shows, there is a gradual process as the best sites and customer demand are proven over time. Despite its bumpy start, over 2 million containers were returned in just 7 days. Nevertheless some consumers will justifiably be frustrated but it doesn’t mean you lose the value of the refund – the containers can be stored.
The convenience of collection points has always been important and we will continue to push for a world class system.
So it’s your choice – keep using the council recycling bin and know that council can use that refund money to improve waste services in your community or collect them and take them to your nearest collection point when it opens or donate to a local good cause.
If you notice an unreasonable price increase (above 15c per container) please complain to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) and let Minister for the Environment Gabrielle Upton know about it.
We've compiled a list of the questions we get asked most often. If you are still unclear about Return and Earn please fell free to contact us.
It is a bumpy road but it will be worth it for a cleaner environment now and decades into the future.