Return and Earn – The NSW Container Deposit Scheme

By November 13, 2017 No Comments

The NSW Container Deposit Scheme will start on 1 December 2017 under the branding “return and earn”. Residents will be able to return eligible drinks containers at reverse vending machines (RVMs) or manual collection points.

Actual locations will be announced closer to the launch date, though shopping centres are likely, and Woolworths have been announced as a partner by hosting RVMs. Community Groups are also likely to start collection drives.  An important tip when using the RVMs is not to crush your containers as their codes need to be readable to get your 10c.

WARR Regional Strategic Coordinator, Hazel Storey has been on the NSW Government’s Working Group advocating for the needs of Local Councils in the scheme focussing on the impacts of the scheme on kerbside recycling and contracts. We were pleased to gain a major ‘win’ when legislation was being drafted. It now requires materials recovery facility (MRF) operators to come to a ‘fair and reasonable’ arrangement with their council clients regarding the ‘sharing’ of any remaining unredeemed deposits (i.e. on containers in the kerbside/public place bins) within 12 months of the scheme’s start.

Council Waste Managers are keen to collaborate through SSROC on coming to those negotiated arrangements.  The financial value of this negotiation will not become apparent until Q3 or Q4 in the 2017/18 financial year. Prior to that, the NSW Government is finalising the audit, compliance and reporting requirements for MRF operators which also start on 1 December. Industry and Local Government will then need at least two quarters’ worth of data to inform negotiations. The Office of Local Government is commissioning work related to the MRF audit data, to make sure that Councils and MRFs can negotiate in good faith.

Whilst initiated as a scheme to reduce litter volume by 40% by 2020 the Container Deposit Scheme is anticipated to have far-reaching benefits. SSROC is especially pleased that residents using RVMs will have the option to donate their 10c refunds direct to a charity.

As we near the scheme’s commencement, expect a lot more information in the press. Information and media packs are being prepared by the NSW EPA for Local Councils.

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