NSW litter reduced by a third with help from Return and Earn

Litter in New South Wales has dropped by 37 per cent since 2013, with drink container litter being reduced by a third since the introduction of the Return and Earn scheme, according to new figures.

A report released from Keep Australia Beautiful has also found takeaway container litter has been reduced by 19 per cent from 2016 to 2017.

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Print and advertising litter has also been reduced by 35 percent from 2016 to 2017.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said Return and Earn’s impact can been seen by looking at the scheme coordinator’s figures for the three months from March to May 2018, which show it collected 67 per cent of all eligible containers supplied into NSW in that period.

“This shows the immediate positive impact the container deposit scheme is having on reducing drink container litter, which is the largest proportion of all litter volume in NSW,” Ms Upton said.

“Overall, there has been a 33 per cent drop in Return and Earn eligible drink containers in the litter stream since November 2017 – the month before the scheme was introduced on 1 December.

“On average three million containers a day are being collected at return points. More than 560 million containers have been processed by Return and Earn so far and as more collection points are rolled out, these results can only increase and the amount of litter will decrease,” she said.

Ms Upton said the NSW Government’s commitment of $30 million to 2021 to reduce litter and littering behaviour through the Waste Less recycle More initiative is having the right effect.

“Such a huge drop shows the NSW Government’s range of anti-litter initiatives are working,” she said.

“I encourage the NSW community to continue returning their eligible drink containers and in their other efforts to reduce litter in our communities.”

New information on Tasmanian Container Refund Scheme released

A Tasmanian round table discussion has seen local government and the waste industry agree to the creation of a Waste Action Plan, amid the release of a report on the potential framework for a Container Refund Scheme.

Consulting firm Marsden Jacob Associates (MJA) has detailed the model framework for a Tasmanian Container Refund Scheme (CRS).

The report concluded the scheme should include common features with similar schemes, such as the eligible containers and price.

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It has allocated 18 months to set up the scheme and found the total funding requirement over 20 years would be $239 million, of which $138 million are refunded deposits. The costs of running the scheme were found to be around $101 million, or 4 cents per eligible container.

A redemption rate of at least 80 per cent was outlined, with a target of at least 60 refund points. Graduated sanctions were recommended for failing to meet these targets, with a verifiable auditing and tracking system required to ensure the objectives are met.

Potential cost savings for local councils were found, with beverage container litter estimated to fall by half, with an 80 per cent redemption rate.

MJA said in the report that the market should be allowed to determine the operational details of the system. The firm estimates nominal price impacts on consumers who don’t redeem the containers would start at around 10 cents per container and rise over time to 16 cents, with cost impacts on redeemers being around 10 cents lower.

Another finding from the report said the CRS should be run by a single co-ordinator and operator, set up as a product stewardship organisation (PSO). This PSO would be overseen by a board of directors that is representative of the industry and ensures access to relevant expertise.

The Action Plan will aim to consider initiatives like the CRS as part of the broader context across Tasmania. It will be further developed following China’s increased restriction on solid waste imports.

With the implementation of stricter contamination levels for imported waste, the amount of recyclate and waste that it will accept has decreased significantly, affecting Australia’s waste industry.

Tasmanian Minister for the Environment Elise Archer said the government will continue to consider the views of local government, industry, business and the community regarding a CRS and a range of other initiatives in developing the Waste Action Plan.

Local Government Association of Tasmania President Doug Chipman said that local government has welcomed the round table.

“The impacts of China’s restrictions are being felt deeply by councils and the community’s interest in waste management in general has risen significantly,” Cr Chipman said.

“We have five motions on waste at our upcoming LGAT General Meeting and I look forward to collaborating with the State Government in addressing these issues.”

Return and Earn sees half a billion containers returned

More than half a billion containers have been returned to Return and Earn reverse vending machines in NSW, eight months after the scheme launched.

The container deposit scheme aims to improve recycling rates and reduce the volume of litter in the state by 40 per cent by 2020.

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Each eligible container is worth 10 cents when returned to a reverse vending machine or depot.

Drink containers litter currently makes up 44 per cent of the volume of all litter throughout NSW and costs more than $162 million to manage, according to the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) was the first educational institution to install a reverse vending machine as part of the scheme.

UNSW Senior Manager, Environmental Sustainability Will Syddall said that while this initiative helps to reduce littering and improve recycling rates, it is just one step in improving the way we create and manage waste.

“In the waste hierarchy, reducing and reusing resources is better than recycling them. We encourage the community to use reusable water bottles and coffee cups so that they can avoid disposable cups and bottles altogether,” Mr Syddall said.

“We also recognise that we have more work to do to reduce the amount of single-use plastic and other consumables used on our campuses.”

According to the World Bank, half of the plastic ever manufactured was made in the last 15 years.

ACT CDS locations announced as scheme begins

The first locations for the Australian Capital Territory’s Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) have been announced.

The scheme commenced on 30 June 2018 and refunds consumers 10 cents for returning an eligible container.

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The scheme targets containers that occur most often in the waste stream of ACT, covering glass, PET, HDPE, aluminium, steel or liquid paperboard cartons, between 150 millilitres and three litres in size. The scheme does not include plain milk containers, flavoured milk containers above 1 litre, pure juice drinks, wine, spirit or cordial bottles.

Director of ACT NoWaste Michael Trushell said a total of nine return points will open across Canberra’s north and south side with more locations to join over the next 12 months.

“To receive a 10 cent refund, residents will be able to take their eligible containers to two types of return points, express return points for returning up to 500 containers or bulk depots, which can accept any number,” he said.

“The ACT CDS is a little different to the one that operates in NSW. Residents can choose to collect the refund or donate the funds directly to a charity. Social enterprise groups like the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul have express shopfronts across Canberra that will benefit from the scheme.”

The locations include:

  • 151 Gladstone Street, Fyshwick (bulk depot)
  • 10 Buckland Street, Mitchell (bulk depot)
  • 1/9 Wooley Street, Dickson (express return point Vinnies)
  • Corner Pitman Street and Athllon Drive, Greenway (express return point Vinnies)
  • Corner Rae and Purdue Streets, Belconnen (express return point Vinnies)
  • Corner Anketell and Reed Streets, Tuggeranong Square, South Greenway (express return point Salvos)
  • Shop 7, Corner Hindmarsh Drive and Botany Street, Phillip (express return point Salvos)
  • 32 Hoskins Street, Mitchell (express return point Salvos)
  • 15 Mildura Street, Fyshwick (express return point Salvos)

“I would like to thank the Network Operator, Return-It and the Scheme Coordinator, Exchange for Change ACT for working behind the scenes to establish the first CDS for Canberra,” Mr Trushell said.

For more information on the scheme, click here.

QLD Gov announce $100M resource recovery fund

The Queensland Government has announced a $100 million resource recovery fund, more information on the waste levy and a plan to reduce plastic pollution in its state budget.

The government revealed a further $2 million will go towards implementing a Container Refund Scheme, along with its ban on single-use plastic bags.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said that by funding initiatives and programs that push for positive environmental change, the government is delivering a budget firmly focused on the future.

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“To help transition to a low carbon, clean growth economy, there will be $5.6 million in this coming budget to help Queensland adapt to the impacts of a changing climate,” Ms Enoch said.

“These major plastic-reducing initiatives are not far away, with the ban on plastic bags coming into effect in less than a month, and Container Refund Scheme coming into effect in November.”

The budget also revealed the already announced waste disposal levy, more information on that here, which will begin in the first quarter of 2019 and apply to 38 local government areas, covering more than 80 per cent of the state’s population. It will be set at $70 a tonne for general waste and increase by $5 per annum, with the process going to waste programs, environmental priorities and community purposes.

There will also be $100 million allocated over three years to support the resource recovery and recycling industry through its Resource Recovery Industry Development Program.

An annual advance will be provided on levy charges to local governments disposing of municipal waste in the levy zone, with $32 million in 2018-19 for this.

The budget also includes $5 million to go to waste to energy and $5 million over two years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities to remove metal waste and vehicle stockpiles in areas which comprise the Torres Strait Island Regional Council, Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council and Torres Shire Council.

It will also offer $3.9 million over for years to continue to deliver its ecoBiz program, that helps small to medium-sized businesses identify and achieve financial savings and eco-efficiency in energy, water and waste.

 

Positive results for NT container deposit scheme

More than 75 per cent of Northern Territory residents have said they believe the container deposit scheme (CDS) has been a success, according to a recent survey.

The survey also showed 81 per cent of territorians participate in the CDS because they are environmentally conscious.

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NT’s CDS began in January 2012 and provides a 10 cent refund on beverage containers returned through collection depots.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Director Leonie Cooper said the survey component of the review into the CDS received 714 responses, including 646 from community organisations and members of the public.

“The CDS has delivered many benefits to the Territory community, such as financial boosts to schools and community groups, as well as increased recycling rates and reduced litter in our environment,” Ms Cooper said.

“More than 90 million containers were collected by collection depots last financial year (2016-17) from territorians, the most collected in any 12 month period since the scheme began.

“Collection depots paid out more than $9 million to territorians during this time and this further demonstrates that territorians continue to support the CDS,” she said.

In addition, the survey also collected 68 responses from non-governmental organisations, government employees and the industry, including CDS coordinators, depot operators and supply approval holders.

“Participating in the survey gave territorians an opportunity to contribute to improvements in consumer experience with CDS, and the environmental and community benefits that could come from improving access and operations of the CDS,” Ms Cooper said.

“I thank everyone who participated in the survey and provided valuable suggestions on how the CDS can be improved. These suggestions are currently being considered by the independent CDS review team, with the final review report due for release in August,” she said.

Ms Cooper said CDS infrastructure grants have provided businesses and organisations with one-off funding to improve public access across the NT.

ACT container deposit scheme start date announced

The ACT Government has announced that Canberra’s container deposit scheme will start on 30 June.

Contract agreements have been signed with the scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator Re.Turn-it.

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Residents will be able to return eligible beverage containers at registered collection points to receive a 10-cent refund.

The scheme is similar to the legislation in SA, NT and NSW, which use the refund to encourage consumers to dispose of drink containers properly to decrease litter.

Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris said the ACT has always said it would introduce a scheme as quickly as possible to align with NSW but took time to make sure the scheme it was done right.

“I’m excited to announce that the ACT’s Container Deposit Scheme will start on 30 June 2018, which I’m sure will be good news for local sporting groups and kids who have already started stockpiling cans and bottles,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“The scheme will provide opportunities for container refunds to be donated to charities and offer increased economic and employment opportunities for participating collection points,” she said.

“We also want to make sure industry are supported through this process, and this week we will introduce legislation to allow beverage manufacturers up to two years before they have to introduce ACT specific refund marking on their containers.”

Examining similar schemes around Australia alongside community consultation, discussions with industry, social research and waste audits were performed to inform the scheme.

Re.Turn-It is responsible for establishing a series of collection points where people will be able to return their containers once the scheme begins.

Managing Director of Re.Group David Singh said the company’s approach will be to maximise customer convenience, which includes delivering a range of collection point formats across ACT, designed to suit the needs of different members of the community.

Collection points will include depots where containers are counted on the spot for immediate cash refunds, as well as express collection points where customers are able to drop off containers and have the refund automatically credited to their account within a few days. Reverse vending machines are also a possibility at some sites in the ACT.

“By working with charities and disability employers, our aim is to ensure that the ACT CDS provides real benefits to the wider community, as well as to individual customers,” he said.

“We are committed to ensuring that, from Day 1, the people of the ACT have options on where to take their containers. We’ll also work with the Territory to expand the collection network over time, taking account of customer feedback and demand,” said Mr Singh.

Return and Earn donations to help Tathra Bushfire Appeal

Donations from NSW Return and Earn refunds can now be sent towards those who have been devastated by the Tathra bushfires.

TOMRA has announced the Tathra Bushfire Appeal has become an official donation partner, allowing 10c donations for each container returned under the state’s container deposit scheme at any reverse vending machine from across NSW.

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Recyclers are able to donate their funds by choosing the option on the reverse vending machine, which will then go towards helping the people of Tathra to rebuild their lives and homes.

TOMRA Chief Executive Officer Ryan Buzzell, says, “It’s such an easy way for people to help out others in need and our team have worked very hard to make this happen quickly, so we ask everyone to give as generously as they can this month.”

Environmental group Take 3 for the Sea has stepped aside to give the Tathra Bushfire Appeal to have the opportunity to raise funds until the end of April.

Take 3 for the Sea Co-Founder Tim Silverwood says, “It’s a terrible thing for anyone to have to experience, so we were really keen to do what we could and I hope that people will find it in their hearts to help the people of Tathra get back on their feet again.”

TOMRA Cleanaway is the network provider for the Return and Earn scheme, with TOMRA providing the vending machines and Cleanaway handling the logistics and sorting.

There are more than 535 collection points across NSW, with the scheme seeing 200 million containers returned in 16 weeks.

Big Bottle Tour of regional Victoria for container deposit scheme

A three-metre-long soft drink bottle will tour regional Victoria to call for a statewide container deposits scheme.

The Boomerang Alliance, representing 47 community groups and local government organisations, aims to rally thousands of Victorians and local MPs to encourage the state government to install a container deposit recycling scheme.

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Currently, Victoria and Tasmania are the only two states that do not have a scheme planned or implemented in Australia.

The ‘Big Bottle Tour’ will begin in Stawell on Saturday 31 March and continue for two weeks travelling from Warrnambool, Port Fairy, Melbourne, Mildura, Echuca, Beechworth, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Ballarat.

The tour will collect drink containers along the way and deliver them to the premier, along with a message from regional Victora about the importance of waste and littering issues in regional communities.

Landcare, Coastcare, Boomerang Bags and Plasticwise groups, and the Scouts have joined the Boomerang Alliance to highlight the benefits of these types of schemes in local communities.

“With the recycling industry in Victoria on the brink of collapse due to contaminated kerbside collections, the Victorian Government needs to act quickly to implement a viable long-term solution that will deliver clean material acceptable for recycling and grow domestic reprocessing,” said Director of Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel.

“Victoria could lead on the circular economy around plastics but only by closing the loop and maximising the quality of reclaimed resource – container deposits schemes continue to prove their effectiveness in achieving this objective,” he said.

“As Victoria drowns in a sea of contaminated kerbside recycling, the time to act is now. Can the Andrews’ Government continue to ignore the evidence and oversee not only the destruction of Victoria’s recycling industry, but also the ongoing damage to its iconic environment?”

Port Fairy Sea Scouts Group leader Michelle Arnold welcomes the campaign and its three-metre large bottle to Port Fairy in a bid to get others to support the initiative.

“We see how well this scheme works for the scouts in South Australia. We have the setup to receive containers, we have eager scouts to go collecting and if you look at our scout hall, we certainly could put the funding to good use,” she said.