NSW We've done it!
In a huge win for the environment, NSW is getting the Container Deposit Scheme that really works. The one that turns drink bottles and cans into cash.
Under the new scheme reverse vending machines and bottle collection centres will provide an immediate 10 cent "reward" for every empty container deposited. In South Australia, where the scheme has been in place for the past 30 years, 80% of cans and bottles are recycled. It's expected to be the same here.
And that's not all - charities, clubs and community groups have also hit the jackpot. For them access to extra funds is just one clean-up away. In SA $60 million was distributed in this way last year alone.
It might not have been this way. The NSW government was fiercely lobbied by Coca-Cola and other big drink companies to implement their questionable Thirst for Good scheme. This scheme provided no direct reward, so no incentive, for people to recycle bottles and cans. Instead, if enough drink containers were collected a donation would be made to a pre-allocated or club.
The drink companies fought hard for their no-incentive scheme, but the community fought hard too.
"With Premier Mike Baird as our local MP, the Manly community has more influence than most," Good For Manly Cllr Candy Bingham said. "Congratulations to everyone in the Manly community, especially Manly Environment Centre and Greens Cllr Cathy Griffin, who fought so hard to get Mr Beard to make the right choice. Groups such as the Boomerang Alliance ran a strong campaign for change."
Here’s how the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) will work:
• 10 cents will be paid for each drink container returned to a depot or reverse vending machine.
• The containers must display a NSW CDS label, and be between 150ml and 3 litres.
• Wine, beer, milk, and juice will not be eligible for the scheme.
• Depots will be both large-scale operations and pop-ups.
• Anyone returning a container is eligible for a refund.
• Drinks containers can still be disposed of in council-run waste and recycling collection schemes, but the household won’t receive a refund. The 10c will go to the councils and will go towards waste collection costs in their local area.
• The 10c refund, administration and handling fees, will be covered by the beverage industry.
Next? A campaign for the inclusion of wine & beer bottles, which are a major issue in Manly's public areas.
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.