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 email@example.com 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.
Container Refund Scheme and Plastic Bag Ban Becomes Law in Queensland
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Container Refund Scheme will be delayed from its scheduled start date of July 1, 2018 until November 1, 2018 to give collection infrastructure more time to be ready.
On September 5th 2017, we welcomed the unanimous passage of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill through the Queensland Parliament. The bill confirms a Plastic Bag Ban and Container Refund Scheme (CRS) will be introduced into Queensland in November 2018.
These new policies represent the most significant litter and plastic pollution measures introduced into Queensland in generations. It's a great leap forward for litter reduction, recycling and collection (and the jobs that go with this) and for community organisations who can make money from collecting bottles and cans.
Factsheets and Links
The DEHP has released factsheets about the CRS and bag ban which outlines how they will operate and what they cover. You can click below to download a copy.
For more information on the Container Refund Scheme, including a full list of eligible containers, CLICK HERE
For more information on the plastic bag ban, CLICK HERE
To register for further updates from the DEHP, you can sign up to WASTENOTES
If you are from a Not-For-Profit group or community organisation or school and would like to learn more about fundraising through collecting containers as donations or setting up a Container Refund Point, CLICK HERE
To register to submit for a tender to become an official Container Refund Point Operator, see the below call for proposals by Coex, who are setting up the refund system.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Proposals are still being accepted in March. See the Coex Website for more information.
For further information and questions, please email Kellie at firstname.lastname@example.org
What Exactly is a Container Refund Scheme?
A Container Refund Scheme involves the payment of a refund (10 cents) for the return of every eligible beverage container to a recognised redemption point. In other words, people get cash for recycling their containers. There are over 40 such systems around the world including in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
South Australia has had a container refund scheme since 1975, according to the CSIRO Marine Debris Report 2014, the amount of beverage container litter in South Australia is less than the amount of container litter in Queensland 'by a factor of three.’ In Queensland most beverage containers, despite kerbside collections, are wasted in landfill. In SA, container recycling rates are above 80%. In more modern schemes, such as Germany, container collection rates are close to 100%.
The primary objectives of a Container Refund Scheme should be to:
- Significantly reduce litter from beverage containers
- Increase recycling of containers
- Grow community benefits by providing income to charities; encouraging social enterprises and new jobs and regional business opportunities
Boomerang Alliance's Position on the Container Refund Scheme
With over 40 such systems around the world producing huge benefits, the Container Refund Scheme is clearly a good move for Queensland. As long as a World's Best Practice Scheme is introduced, and in combination with the plastic bag ban, we expect litter and plastic pollution could be halved. Our position on a World's Best Practice Scheme includes:
- All glass, plastic and aluminium beverage containers between 150ml and 3 litres capacity (with the exception of milk, fruit juice and health tonics) will attract a 10 cent refund, when returned to an approved collection point. Wine bottles, currently exempted should be included.
- We believe that a 10 cent refund will provide the right incentive to encourage container return. If this proves insufficient we urge that the deposit amount should be increased. A refund should be paid according to the preference of the depositor. This could be cash, voucher or direct credit. A voucher (redeemable at a local shop) is our preferred option to encourage the establishment of convenient collection points (Reverse Vending Machines) at shopping centres.
- We believe in convenient and accessible collection infrastructure. That means the public (and all communities) should have reasonable opportunity to return containers at convenient locations such as shopping centres, other retail places as well as private, council or community-run collection depots. We believe that retailers should have an obligation to provide collection points, as they are required to do at most successful schemes in other parts of the world.
- The scheme, as proposed, is complementary to current Council kerbside collection services, we support local councils and community organisation having fair access to container refunds and/or handling fees from containers they have collected. We support local business interested in collection to have similar access.
- In addition to any CRS logo or marking, for ease of operation and efficient refund return we believe that a barcode marking should be mandatory on each eligible container and used to identify and verify a refund. This would prevent fraud and allow remote and community-run collectors to fully and equitably participate in the scheme.
- We believe that an independent, not-for-profit organisation should coordinate the scheme to ensure an equitable approach for all, accountability and public disclosure on the performance of the scheme. As the provider of containers we believe that the beverage industry should be responsible for covering the costs of the scheme.
- We believe that the scheme should be regularly reviewed to ensure it is meeting performance targets. Targets for collection and for numbers of containers recycled should be set so that the scheme achieves collection and recycling goals, consistent with the world's best schemes, within 5 years.
Your hard work is paying off! NSW, QLD, ACT and WA all have committed to introduce a deposit scheme on bottles and cans in the years to come. We now need your support to get Victoria to join them. It doesn't matter if you live in another state, taking action today will help protect our wonderful oceans and clean up Australia.Read more
We are welcoming the change to the start date of the NSW Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) to the 1st of December 2017 as good policy and congratulated the government on listening to the many requests for more time to rollout a better serviced scheme.
The Baird government’s signature environment protection policy – the container deposits scheme (CDS) – risks failing consumers on day 1, because the legislation did not establish sufficient convenient sites to collect drink containers and give refunds.
Today the NSW Container Deposit Legislation is being debated in the Parliament upper house – the final stage before it becomes law. In his speech, NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman proudly announced the government is on track to deliver a ‘cost-effective, best practice container deposit scheme' in accordance with Premier Baird’s promise - but it’s not.
We are very excited by the announcement by the Queensland LNP that it would implement a 10cent refund system for drink bottles and cans. It is a great World Environment Day news!Read more
Today is a great day! The NSW government has just announced that it will proceed with a genuine container deposit system (CDS). This is an historic win for the community!Read more
Late last month the Australian Senate released its report “Toxic Tide” investigating the impacts of plastic on the Australian marine environment. In a wide sweeping series of recommendations, the Senators called for all states and territories to adopt container deposit systems (CDS) by 2020.Read more
On Saturday April 25th, the Queensland Cash for Containers team joined forces with Scouts Queensland and took to the beaches to create a statement the local media could not ignore. Using over 2000 cans and bottles largely collected from Gold Coast beaches, parks and waterways, we created the world’s largest surfboard sculpture made from recycled litter. Measuring 13.3m long and 3.5m wide, the attempt was made on the Gold Coast and will be submitted for a new record on recordsetter.com.Read more