A bill will be introduced into the ACT Legislative Assembly tomorrow which will enable Canberrans to exchange discarded water bottles and empty soft drink cans for cash – addressing one of the city’s biggest litter problems.
The bill paves the way for a Container Deposit Scheme to be set up in the territory early next year and aims to be consistent with the NSW scheme which starts this December.
Under the scheme, a 10 cent refund will be provided for empty beverage containers that are returned to an approved collection point.
Eligible containers will include most aluminium, glass, PET, HDPE, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150 millilitres and 3 litres (inclusive).
ACT Transport and City Services Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the Waste Management and Resources Recovery Amendment Bill 2017 sets out the objectives and framework of the territory’s scheme, including the obligations of beverage suppliers to participate in the scheme.
Ms Fitzharris said the Container Deposit Scheme will be funded by the beverage industry and delivered by experienced operators in the recycling and beverage industries.
“Beverage containers are the most prevalent source of litter in our waterways, parks and roadsides,” Ms Fitzharris said.
“The Container Deposit Scheme is a positive step forward that encourages the community and the beverage industry to reduce litter and create a cleaner environment.
“The scheme will also create revenue-raising opportunities for charities, schools and community groups.”
Ms Fitzharris said that feedback on the proposed scheme will be sought from the Canberra community over the coming weeks to help ensure its effective implementation.
The consultation period is expected to start soon and will ask for comment on a range of key aspects of the scheme including how the 10 cent refund for eligible containers is to be provided, where and how containers can be redeemed, and how an eligible container is identified.
Ms Fitzharris said the Government will appoint a scheme coordinator and a network operator who will work together to deliver the scheme.
The bill to be introduced tomorrow also proposes a method for redeeming containers collected through the current kerbside recycling program.
This form of recycling is to continue for residents who choose to put their containers in their yellow bins at home, with refunds to be shared between the Material Recovery Facility that processes the containers and the ACT Government.
Ms Fitzharris said the introduction of the Container Deposit Scheme is an item in the Parliamentary Agreement between Labor and the Greens.
Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury said the scheme will reduce litter, improve recycling rates and save money, as well as creating new businesses and jobs in the ACT.
“We’re pleased today to welcome a container deposit scheme to Canberra,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“The Greens have advocated strongly for the scheme over a number of years, and it’s great to see that this will now be realised.
“This year South Australia is celebrating 40 years since the introduction of the container deposit legislation,” he said.
“More than six billion containers have been returned under the scheme, with an average annual return of around 80 per cent.
“That’s a remarkable achievement and an aspiration for our city as we do our bit towards reducing waste to landfill.”
Do you think this scheme is a good idea? Do you have any thoughts on how the 10 cent refunds could be provided or how containers could be redeemed?