Container Deposit Scheme - 10 cents to recycle your cans and bottles

Waste is an issue that effects all sectors of society. The Greens (WA) are working to enhance recycling efforts and reduce our dependence on virgin and single-use resources. Earlier this year, after pressure from The Greens (WA), the Government has announced its Container Deposit Scheme; expected to be fully operational by the start of 2020.

South Australia introduced its CDS in 1977 and boasts a container return rate of 76.9%. NSW and NT also have CDSs in place to help preserve our resources and our environment. Recyclable containers currently comprise 35.2% of all litter in WA and and we finally have legislation committed to dealing with plastic recycling across the state.

Western Australians buy 1.3 billion drinks covered by the scheme every year. Over the next 20 years, the State-wide scheme is predicted to reduce littered containers by 706 million, cut the number of containers sent to landfill by 6.6 billion and see an increase in recycled containers of 5.9 billion. Projections show the container deposit scheme will result in 706 million fewer beverage containers littered by 2037 and reduce the number of containers disposed of to landfill by 5,902 million – a huge win for both the environment and our State’s resources.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has welcomed the new legislation, stating "Not only will our container deposit scheme divert waste from landfill, it is expected to create some 500 jobs - at new container sorting and processing facilities and refund points, and the transportation of containers across the State”. Minister Dawson has announced the Government’s chosen coordinator for WA’s Container Deposit Scheme; WA Return Recycle Renew Limited, which will start operation early 2020. The first task for WA Return Recycle Renew is to run an open application process to establish the collection network. This will include refund points, transport and processing facilities, and support for social enterprises to participate. The WA container deposit scheme will also include donation points, increasing the ways community organisations can benefit from the scheme; with Minister Dawson committing to provide a refund point in every WA town with over 500 residents.

While the proposed CDS is a huge stepping stone in reducing WA’s waste and protecting our environment, there are concerns about the Government’s choice of coordinator and their close ties to the beverage industry. Greens (WA) MP Robin Chapple, and others such as Piers Verstegen (Conservation Council WA) and Gayle Sloan (chief executive of Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia), have voiced concerns over potential vested interests and the possibility of mismanagement. "The beverage industry have a commercial incentive to minimise recycling because the fewer containers are returned, the fewer refunds they will have to pay out to consumers," Mr Verstegen said. These concerns were addressed by the Department of Environment in the assertion that the board “"will include a chair who is independent of both the beverage and waste industries and approved by the Minister, [plus] at least four directors independent of the beverage industry and at least five additional directors independent of the waste industry," a spokesman said in a statement. The Greens (WA) are committed to seeing an impartial and environmentally-conscious management of WA's CDS and will be monitoring the efficacy of the new scheme upon its implementation. 


For more information on the Greens WA policies regarding waste management click here.

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