The Western Australian government will invest $3.5 million to support network participants following the deferral of Containers for Change, which will now be launched later this year.
The state government announced Western Australia’s container deposit scheme will commence on October 1.
Stephen Dawson, WA Environment Minister, said the scheme’s launch date had to be delayed due to COVID-19, a decision that was supported by the community and the scheme co-ordinator, and public health advice.
The Containers for Change scheme will pave the way for reduced litter, improved recycling rates, and the creation of new businesses and employment opportunities across the state.
“Western Australians have been telling us they are ready and willing to get involved in a cash for cans scheme, they want to recycle right and they want to ensure less beverage containers end up in landfill,” Dawson said.
“An October launch date strikes the right balance between keeping people safe and ensuring the sustainability of the network.”
Originally slated to start on 1 July 2020, it was announced at the end of March that due to COVID-19, the scheme would have to be deferred to either November 2020 or June 2021, to be determined following a review in August 2020.
According to a statement from Dawson, the financial assistance package of up to $3.5 million will support network participants financially impacted by deferral of the scheme, ensuring they remain viable until scheme commencement and It will also ensure sustainability of the collection network.
Containers for Change will allow Western Australians to claim a 10-cent refund when they return eligible beverage containers at designated refund points across the state.
In preparation for the scheme, participants made financial commitments such as taking on leases, staff and technology to support their operations.
The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) stated that the $3.5 million assistance package will provide much-needed certainty for operators involved in the scheme.
Gayle Sloan, WMRR CEO, said the scheme will play an important role in delivering ongoing investment in WA, while providing additional and welcome cash flow to communities.
“The WA government is to be congratulated for acting so swiftly in addressing COVID-19, enabling an earlier restart date than initially contemplated,” she said.
“WMRR also genuinely appreciates that the government has listened to the concerns of operators who had worked tirelessly towards the initial 1 July 2020 start date and were left with uncertainty around the new commencement date,
“In knowing that the scheme will commence on 1 October 2020, coupled with compensation for sites that had already been secured and developed for the scheme, puts WA’s CDS back on track.”
The CDS is also an important part in the COAG waste export bans puzzle, as plastic that flows through the scheme are amongst those that will be impacted when the bans are implemented.
“The impending bans and CDS present an opportunity to grow WA’s domestic remanufacturing capacity,” Sloan said.
The funding will be made available from June 2, 2020 until scheme commencement.