Retailers not convinced by the State Government's new recycling scheme

Container confusion: IGA licensee Peter Sheridan isn't convinced the Container Deposit Scheme is a good idea, questioning the roll-out after it was revealed Tamworth is yet to have a Reverse Vending Machine. Photo: Peter Hardin
Container confusion: IGA licensee Peter Sheridan isn't convinced the Container Deposit Scheme is a good idea, questioning the roll-out after it was revealed Tamworth is yet to have a Reverse Vending Machine. Photo: Peter Hardin

Beer prices went up about four dollars a carton this month as the State Government’s Container Deposit scheme kicked in, the only problem is that there is no where for consumers to make the deposit and recoup a portion of that rise.

The CDS is the largest litter reduction scheme in the history of NSW, announced by Environmental Minister Gabrielle Upton earlier in the year, to begin on December 1.

A carton of stubbies has gone up by over $3, while a carton of cans by over $4, and it is not just beer, soft drinks and water too.

Peter Sheridan

The scheme puts the onus back on consumers, with the government charging wholesalers a levy of between 13 and 15 cents per bottle or can, which would then get passed on to consumers, while the remaining is retained by the government as an administration cost.

The consumer can recoup 10 cents for every container through the use of Reverse Vending Machines, which can either refund the money into a Paypal account, donate the money to charity, or print a voucher to be used at a wholesale partner such as Woolworths, who were the first retail refund partner.

The idea was to help eradicate a large percentage of litter from the landscape, with drink containers contributing over 40 per cent of all litter in Australia, although Carlo’s IGA bottle shop licensee Peter Sheridan said that nobody, including those in the industry, know enough about the scheme despite the levy already being charged.

“We don’t know how many sites, how it is going to be rolled out, or anything – there has been no information or media packages sent through, no advertising and very little coverage in the media,” Mr Sheridan said.

Sign of the times.

Sign of the times.

What he does know is that prices have already gone up at the wholesaler as of November 1 by legislation, and after “sitting on his stock” for the past two weeks has this week had to pass it on to the consumer, despite the fact that the scheme doesn’t officially begin until December 1.

“There is an impact on us and consumers. We can’t absorb it, we have to pass it on,” Mr Sheridan said.

“The government want their cut but want the consumer to do the work – they can call it a levy, but it is just another tax.”

Tomra Cleanaway won the contract to supply the RVMs all over NSW, although as of Monday there were currently none in the Tamworth region, while a Woolworths spokesperson said “ the schedule for Tamworth is progressively being finalised.”

What is it?

The New South Wales Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) will come effect on December 1, 2017 and will be operated by Cleanaway and TOMRA in a joint venture partnership. 

Also known as Return and Earn, the NSW CDS will be the largest litter reduction scheme introduced by the state, with the goal of reducing litter volume by 40 per cent by 2020.

How it works?

The CDS rewards consumers for returning containers, cans and bottles to designated recycling points with a 10 cent refund per eligible container. 

The refund can be:

  • Disbursed electronically to the consumer
  • Donated to charity
  • Used as an in-store credit or cash redemption voucher from selected partners

Collected containers will be processed through a counting and sorting centre in Western Sydney.

They will then be recycled and sold into both domestic and export markets. Recovering these resources will create a closed loop, making a sustainable future possible.

What’s acceptable?

The majority of containers covered under this scheme are beverage containers ranging from 150 millilitres to 3 litres. Containers can be made from:

  • Aluminium
  • Glass
  • HDPE
  • Liquid paperboard
  • PET
  • Steel

What’s not acceptable?

Containers that are not included in the scheme and, therefore, do not qualify for a refund are:

  • Plain milk or milk substitute containers
  • Flavoured milk containers of one litre or more
  • Pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of one litre or more
  • Glass containers for wine and spirits
  • Casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine and casks for water of one litre or more
  • Sachets for wine of 250 millilitres or more
  • Containers for cordials, or concentrated fruit and vegetable juices
  • Registered health tonics

These exceptions are like those in the South Australian and Northern Territory container deposit schemes, to aid consistency.