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WA Container Deposit Scheme

The McGowan Government is introducing a statewide container deposit scheme. Western Australia’s container deposit scheme is expected to commence in early 2020.

A container deposit scheme allows consumers to take empty beverage containers covered by the scheme to a refund point in exchange for a refund. A refund of 10 cents will be available for all returned eligible beverage containers.

The scheme has many benefits including reducing litter, increasing recycling, protecting the environment and providing opportunities for social enterprise participation. It will complement the Litter Prevention Strategy for Western Australia 2015-20 and the waste strategy.

The scheme is intended complement kerbside recycling and existing waste services. The refund will encourage people to collect and recycle beverage containers consumed away from home.

Consultation Regulation Impact Statement

The Department has also prepared a consultation regulation impact assessment which is available for public comment for four weeks from 13 August 2018 to 10 September 2018.

Beverage containers covered by the scheme

The scheme targets beverage containers most commonly seen as litter. The types of beverage containers covered in the scheme include plastic and glass bottles, paper-board cartons, and steel and aluminium cans between 150 millilitres and three litres. Examples of eligible beverage containers in the scheme include:

  • soft drink cans and bottles;
  • bottled waters – both plastic and glass;
  • small flavoured milk drinks;
  • beer and cider cans and bottles; and
  • sports drinks and spirit-based mixed drinks.

A more detailed list of covered and excluded containers is available.

Advisory and working groups

To assist in the design of the container deposit scheme, stakeholder groups have been established.

Advisory Group

The Minister has established the Container Deposit Scheme Advisory Group with members from the community, the beverage, retail and waste industries and local government. The Department chairs and provides secretariat support to the Advisory Group.

Further information on the CDS Advisory Group is located in the Terms of Reference.

Technical Working Groups

Technical working groups provide advice on detailed technical design issues for implementation of the container deposit scheme.

  • Beverage and Retail Industry Liaison
  • Logistics and Resource Recovery
  • Local Government (WALGA CDS Policy Forum)
  • Community and Environment

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does Western Australia need a container deposit scheme?

A container deposit scheme (CDS) aims to reduce litter and improve recycling. Beverage containers account for 35% of all litter by volume in WA.

South Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, have schemes in place. The states with long standing schemes have the lowest volume of beverage container litter in Australia. Along with Western Australia, Queensland has commenced implementation of a container scheme.

How will the CDS work in Western Australia?

Anyone returning an empty eligible beverage container with a refund mark to a refund point (including reverse vending machines) will receive a 10 cent refund. The scheme will operate statewide.

What is the reason behind the delay in implementing the CDS?

Following consultation, advice from the advisory group and experience in other jurisdictions, Government has decided that the scheme should commence in early 2020. This will ensure adequate time for industry and the community to prepare for implementation.

What items are included?

The scheme targets beverage containers most commonly seen as litter.

Examples of beverage containers between 150 millilitres and three litres in volume eligible for the refund include:

  • soft drink cans and bottles;
  • bottled waters – both plastic and glass;
  • small flavoured milk drinks;
  • beer and cider cans and bottles; and
  • sports drinks and spirit-based mixed drinks.

Containers that are not part of the scheme include:

  • plain milk (or milk substitute) containers;
  • flavoured milk containers of one litre or more;
  • pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of one litre or more;
  • glass containers for wine and spirits;
  • casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine and casks for water – one litre or more;
  • sachets for wine of 250 millilitres or more;
  • containers for cordials, concentrated fruit/vegetable juices; and
  • registered health tonics.

A more detailed list of containers is available.

Why are milk containers and wine bottles not part of the CDS?

The scheme focuses on beverage containers that are usually consumed away from home and that are most commonly found as litter. Milk containers and wine bottles are mostly consumed in homes and placed in domestic recycling bins.

Can I start collecting empty containers now?

No. The 10 cent refund will only apply to containers acquired after the scheme commences.

Will I have to pay more for drinks which are eligible under the scheme? 

The cost of cans and bottles may increase to reflect the refund and scheme costs.

What happens to the containers redeemed at refund points?

Containers left at refund points will be sorted into material type (glass, aluminium, PET plastic or HDPE plastic etc.). The sorted containers will then be sent to a recycler for further processing and/or recycling or delivery to a final recycling destination.

Evidence that the beverage containers have been sent to a recycler will be provided by the refund point operators to the scheme coordinator.

How can I be sure that the containers are being recycled?

It is intended that the WA legislation will prohibit refunded beverage containers from being sent to landfill. The NSW and Queensland container deposit scheme legislation prohibits refunded containers from being sent to landfill.

Refund point operators will need to provide evidence to the scheme coordinator that refunded containers have been sent to recyclers. The scheme coordinator will audit the refund point operators. The scheme administrator will have the capacity to audit the scheme coordinator and undertake additional audits if required.

What else is the government doing to reduce litter?

The State Government is committed to reducing waste and litter across all waste streams. The CDS will complement the Litter Prevention Strategy for Western Australia 2015–20 and the waste strategy.

Should I continue recycling at home?

Yes. Recycling, whether through the scheme or at home, benefits the environment.

Reducing our waste and improving our recycling is important. The latest national waste data (2014/15) shows that Western Australians on average sent 1.4 tonnes of waste to landfill per capita, which is the third highest rate in the country.

Recycling has positive economic benefits—creating more jobs than sending waste to landfill. Every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled creates 9.2 full-time jobs compared with 2.8 jobs when the same amount of waste is sent to landfill.

When will the scheme start and how can I get more information?

The McGowan Government is working through the details with government, industry and community stakeholders to develop the best possible container deposit scheme for Western Australia. The scheme is expected to start in early 2020.

Information on the webpage will be regularly updated, and you can sign up to our mailing list (please see Updates below). 

How many jobs will be created?

Recycling has positive economic benefits—creating more jobs than sending waste to landfill. Every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled creates 9.2 full-time jobs compared with 2.8 jobs when the same amount of waste is sent to landfill.

Additional jobs will be created to operate the collection network. For example, South Australia estimates that approximately 1,000 people are employed through its collection network.

Contact us

Contact us about the WA container deposit scheme.

Phone: 6364 7222

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Updates

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