2 November 2017

Canberrans urged to have their say on ‘cash for cans’ collection points and opening days

| Glynis Quinlan
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Cash for cans

Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry and Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris launching the Container Deposit Scheme earlier this year. Photo supplied.

Canberrans are being encouraged to have their say on the ACT’s Container Deposit Scheme following the passage of legislation to support the scheme earlier this week.

ACT residents are being asked how and when they would like to deposit their discarded water bottles and empty soft drink cans around Canberra as part of the consultation which is being conducted through the Your Say website until December 12.

ACT Transport and City Services Minister Meegan Fitzharris said that it is important to make sure it is easy for Canberrans to get involved in the scheme in order to ensure that litter is reduced and there are increased recycling rates of used beverage containers.

“We are asking the community some important questions now to help us identify where collection points should be located, what days they should be open, and what will encourage people to return their empty beverage containers,” Ms Fitzharris said.

She said that a discussion paper has been released for public consideration, as well as a survey on the Your Say website.

Some aspects of the scheme have already been defined to allow for consistency with the NSW scheme such as the 10 cent refund amount for the return of empty containers. However, Canberrans are being asked such things as how far they would travel to a collection point and how frequently they are likely to return containers.

Ms Fitzharris said the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Amendment Bill 2017 passed the ACT Legislative Assembly despite “last minute opposition”.

“This Bill establishes a cost-effective Container Deposit Scheme that encourages the beverage industry to share responsibility with the community to reduce litter and promote a cleaner environment,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“Beverage containers make up 25 per cent of the litter stream in our streets, waterways, parks and roadsides. I am disappointed that the Opposition would vote against pulling that rubbish from our waterways and landfill, especially when they did not seek to make any amendments to the scheme. They simply opposed it outright.”

ACT Opposition spokesman for Local Business, Andrew Wall, said the Canberra Liberals opposed the bill because they believe the Container Deposit Scheme will impose significant upfront costs for consumers and small businesses with little reward.

“This scheme is a tax on beverages, paid for by consumers, with the administrative costs absorbed by small businesses, largely benefiting the Government,” Mr Wall said.

“Small local beverage companies such as craft brewers will feel the impact of this scheme. For a local craft brewer to enter the Container Deposit Scheme, it would be looking at an upfront cost that could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars – this is before its product even hits the shelves.

“Based on current recycling figures, this scheme would deliver an $8 million profit split between an operator of the Materials Recovery Facility and the Labor Government. That is a massive cash grab ultimately funded by small businesses and Canberra beer drinkers.”

Ms Fitzharris said the scheme will be funded by the beverage industry and delivered by experienced operators in the recycling and beverage industries.

“Local schools, charities, sporting groups and community groups can also benefit by collecting empty cans, bottles and other eligible containers and returning them to a designated collection or return point to obtain a 10 cent refund,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“This refund can then be utilised to purchase additional equipment, improve facilities or keep memberships affordable.”

Do you think the Container Deposit Scheme is a good idea or a costly venture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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