THE statewide Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), also known as Return and Earn, will commence in NSW on November 1.
The scheme is designed to reduce litter by 40 percent by 2020 but is proving complicated and controversial.
Costs for a carton of beer, or your favourite soft drink, will increase from the above date to cover the costs of the impact of the scheme – in some cases by up to 15 cents per bottle/container.
How does it work?
The consumer will purchase bottles and containers from November 1 that will have the ‘cover costs’ included in the purchase price. The Return and Earn scheme allows them to then redeem each item for a 10 cent refund from one of over 500 designated collection points across NSW.
However John Green, Director of Liquor and Policing NSW, said the “devil is always in the detail” and consumers will not be able to get the full refund due to hidden fees.
“Consumers won’t just be paying 10 cents extra for the beverage containers. An administration fee, based on a formula determined by the number of containers being returned and other factors, will also be set each month by the scheme co-ordinator,” he explained.
“It will be included in the cost and will be between one and five cents per container”
Mr Green also claimed hotels, pubs and clubs are not the ‘end user’ the scheme is targeting.
“They aren’t the person who buys a carton of beer or soft drink and takes it home, drinks the contents and then takes the empties back for the container deposit,” he said.
“They also aren’t the person who discards the empty bottle or can by the side of the road that has resulted in this scheme being introduced.
“However, patrons will be paying more to buy drinks in bottles and cans that hoteliers then have to dispose of – and separately to wine and spirit bottles which aren’t part of the scheme.”
The impact it will have on the Mid North Coast
Hastings Co-op’s chief executive officer, Allan Gordon, said the price of some drinks sold in bottles, cans and plastic will increase from November 1 by up to 15c per container.
“It is inevitable that retailers will have to increase prices to recover the full cost impact of the scheme, and consumers will start to see these increases from November 1,” he said.
While the state government is still finalising some of the scheme’s guidelines, Mr Gordon said he understood that refunds for eligible containers may be disbursed electronically to the consumer, donated to charity or by way of in-store credit or cash redemption voucher from selected partners.
Mr Gordon said he hoped to announce details of a collection point in Wauchope in the coming weeks.
Hastings Liquor accord president Alistair Flower said the biggest issue is lack of transparency and poor execution of the scheme.
“It means the brunt of feedback is directed at our retailers. Not because they don’t agree, but they don’t know why their favourite case of beer has gone up by 12 percent,” he said.
Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, said the scheme is the largest litter-reduction initiative to be introduced in NSW.
“Economic analysis shows that over the next 20 years, the scheme is expected to result in 1.6 billion fewer beverage containers littered,” she said.
“It will also provide a fundraising opportunity for schools, community and sporting groups, which share in millions of dollars every year in places, where similar schemes have been running for decades.”
Mrs Williams said collection points are being finalised by the Return and Earn Network Operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, and will be announced ahead December 1 redemption start date.
“We want to make sure that during the transition of the scheme, smaller suppliers in particular, are not inconvenienced,” she said.
“We are committed to helping them in the coming months.”
Visit the Container Deposit Scheme website at nswcds.com.au for further information.