South Australian Government Environment Minister David Spears has announced a review of the state’s more than 40-year-old Container Deposit Scheme (CDS).
A scoping paper has been released to spark a conversation on how to improve the CDS, with comments and submissions open to the government until Friday, 22 February 2019.
The paper indicates that much has changed since the start of the CDS, including the types of containers, consumer choices, technology and markets for recycling. The government is seeking to improve the CDS’ role in recycling and litter reduction.
Some of the questions raised to improve the scheme are: what should be the objectives of the CDS and how well is its achieving these objectives currently? Should more types of containers be included in the CDS and are there containers that could be removed from the scheme? It also asks if the refund amount could be revised and what research is required to inform a review?
Introduced in 1977, the CDS has significantly reduced litter and improved resource recovery for the state. In 2017-18, almost 603 million containers were recovered by collection depots for recycling.
South Australia leads the nation in recovering and recycling beverage containers with an overall return rate of 76.9 per cent.
The scheme operates with beverage suppliers establishing a contract with a super collector and paying a fee to cover the 10 cent refund and handling of containers to the super collector to establish a collection system to recover containers.
Beverage suppliers are able to cover the price of the product when selling to retailers and retailers than pass this cost onto consumers. Beverage containers are sorted and returned to the super collector for recycling which reimburses the refund amount and pays a handling fee to the collection depot. Containers up to and including three litres are covered by the scheme, including soft non-alcoholic drinks, beers, ales and stouts, water, wine-based and spirit beverages and most other alcoholic beverages.
For more information head to the SA EPA website.