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NSW considering bottle deposit scheme – ACT should also

By gasman - 30 May 2012 23

NSW is considering implementing a deposit scheme for glass and plastic bottles and aluminium cans. After dodging 16 clusters of broken bottles on Canberra’s cycle lanes on my commute to work today, I think we should seriously consider this too.

South Australia has had one for many years and the system works efficiently overseas. When you buy a drink in a glass or plastic bottle or aluminium can, you get charged an extra amount (typically 10c), which you can then redeem when you recycle the bottle/can.

The benefits are clear. In British Columbia, where I lived for 2 years, there was no street litter in the form of bottles or cans. There was no broken glass on the roads. Far fewer flat tyres for bikes and cars. Reported recycling rates are between 85 and 94%. Public bins have an extra shelf around the rim to put your drink container so that other people could collect it to recycle if you didn’t want to. Most large stores would redeem the containers, and there were vending machines where you put the container in and get cash out. This, in a province that already has a roadside recycling program.

Canada, Germany, NZ, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway , Finland and 11 US states have legislation for deposit schemes. Germany and Holland report 95% recycle rates for deposit containers. Michigan reports 97% recycling of these containers. Roadside litter is reduced by up to 65% in those states with a deposit scheme, compared to those without, and the reduction of roadside sharps (broken glass) is even better.

If NSW implements this, ACT should also. We are geographically enveloped by NSW, and it would streamline the deposit process so that no matter where the drink container is bought, it can be recycled for cash in ACT or NSW. It would prevent people from buying drinks in ACT (without a deposit) and then taking them to NSW to claim a deposit.

ACT Chief Ministers have claimed that our recycling is already high (around 72% for 2009-10). However, this number is arrived at by looking at the amount of potentially recyclable materials placed in standard domestic (non-recycle) bins. It does not take into account the amount of containers thrown into public bins and discarded by the roadside. It is an underestimate of how much we recycle.

We have much room for improvement and a deposit scheme seems to work extremely well.

What’s Your opinion?


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23 Responses to
NSW considering bottle deposit scheme – ACT should also
gooterz 7:32 pm 30 May 12

Didnt canberra already have this?

bd84 6:09 pm 30 May 12

I don’t think getting 10c back for recycling a bottle will be at the top of drunken idiots’ minds when making the choice whether to smash the bottle on the footpath or not. If there wasn’t already a good recycling scheme here I would support the idea, but it would create mixed messages when it came to people deciding what to put in the yellow top bins. I think they would be better off improving what we already have and educating people on what to recycle and where instead of creating new schemes for what we already do pretty well.

At the end of the day, there will still be complete morons who don’t do the right thing with either scheme. I don’t think a return to the old “cash4cans” scheme will improve anything.

PrinceOfAles 5:19 pm 30 May 12

Rollersk8r said :

I disagree. There is nothing wrong with the current system. What is easier – putting your drink container in the recycling bin at home, or, separating out all your drink containers, stockpiling them in the car until you next shop, lining up at the supermarket for the recycling machine, taking your docket to redeem the next time you buy drinks….?? It’s a pain in the neck – I’ve done it!

As a cyclist the last thing I want is litter and glass on the road – but do you honestly think the type of person who throws glass from a moving vehicle cares it’s worth 10c??

I dunno. If you tell the morons that recycling 1 full case worth of woodstock every week would net them enough to buy 5 packs of smokes in a year it may make some sort of impact.

Martlark 5:05 pm 30 May 12

For 10c I’d have to be pretty close to a recycling place to bother keeping it. Fifty cents would have me collecting them all for return. Why stop at bottles and containers? Ciggie, chip and smoothy packets make up plenty of the litter. Add them too.

Duffbowl 5:03 pm 30 May 12

niftydog said :

The benefits are clear… no street litter in the form of bottles or cans.

I’d like to believe that there is a strong causal link here, but I’m sceptical. A ten cent deposit isn’t going to motivate the mouth-breating-muppets that do this kind of thing to modify their behaviour.

Growing up in SA, sorry, South Australia (don’t want people thinking I meant South Africa or Southern Australia) quite a few kids from poorer families made what was then decent coin for collecting bottles and cans from roadsides, etc. Cans were 5c, echoes/stubbies were 5c, long necks were 10c, glass soft drink bottles (750ml?) were 20c.

Pork Hunt 4:42 pm 30 May 12

Any smart kid will work out a way so the bottles do at least a couple of laps of the recycling joint before they get sprung.

pajs 4:23 pm 30 May 12

If you are keen to learn about options for container deposit schemes (nationally) for Australia, the packaging impacts document here lists the options currently being considered:
http://www.ephc.gov.au/sites/default/files/Packaging%20Impacts%20Consultation%20RIS%20-%20December%202011_ISBN%20updated%20201211.pdf

Having a container deposit scheme doesn’t mean you don’t have a kerbside mixed-recyclables collection, neccessarily.

Holden Caulfield 4:22 pm 30 May 12

I used to love scabbing for empty cans at the footy back in the day when I lived in SA. It was only 5c per can back then but it was an easy way to scrounge together a couple of bucks, when that meant something.

But times have changed a fair bit in the last 20-30 years and I wonder if the motivation/reward for the average 9 year old kid will be as high now as it was for me back then.

Anyway, I still reckon, as a general concept, it’s an idea worth considering.

Deref 4:12 pm 30 May 12

Excellent idea. Now if they’d apply it to all the wrappers around McCrapburgers our litter problem would disappear overnight.

Rollersk8r 3:33 pm 30 May 12

I disagree. There is nothing wrong with the current system. What is easier – putting your drink container in the recycling bin at home, or, separating out all your drink containers, stockpiling them in the car until you next shop, lining up at the supermarket for the recycling machine, taking your docket to redeem the next time you buy drinks….?? It’s a pain in the neck – I’ve done it!

As a cyclist the last thing I want is litter and glass on the road – but do you honestly think the type of person who throws glass from a moving vehicle cares it’s worth 10c??

Solidarity 3:32 pm 30 May 12

So you want me to pay more for stuff, either in money form, or in time and effort form?

Yeah no. Go away.

EvanJames 3:24 pm 30 May 12

Tehy had a deposit scheme in Vermont. Quite good fun, standing at the machine outside the supermarket, feeding in your bottles, the machine recorded each bottle and then smashed it up. Then you opted to get cash back, or a voucher to use at the supermarket inside when you bought your groceries.

The US in general does recycling sporadically and poorly, but you find pockets of excellence, and this was one-such.

niftydog 3:22 pm 30 May 12

The benefits are clear… no street litter in the form of bottles or cans.

I’d like to believe that there is a strong causal link here, but I’m sceptical. A ten cent deposit isn’t going to motivate the mouth-breating-muppets that do this kind of thing to modify their behaviour.

rosscoact 2:58 pm 30 May 12

caf said :

It would prevent people from buying drinks in ACT (without a deposit) and then taking them to NSW to claim a deposit.

This sounds like strictly a benefit to the ACT if we can pull this off 😉

I like the way you’re thinking. Everyone would win

caf 2:16 pm 30 May 12

It would prevent people from buying drinks in ACT (without a deposit) and then taking them to NSW to claim a deposit.

This sounds like strictly a benefit to the ACT if we can pull this off 😉

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