SA Govt to review CDS

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.

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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.

SA celebrates 40 years since CDS commencement

The South Australian Government has reflected on its achievements as it celebrates 40 years since the start of its container deposit scheme (CDS).

The government noted the overall return rate has reached 80 per cent, as it reported on its successes in mid-November.

Since 2005 when statistics were first collected, more than six billion containers have been returned under the scheme. This equates to about 583 million containers per year that are recovered, recycled and directed away from landfill.

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The container deposit scheme started in South Australia in 1977 to reduce the litter problem created by single use drink containers.

In 2003, the South Australian Government extended the scheme to cover non-carbonated soft drinks, fruit juice and flavoured milk containers.

In 2008, the State Government increased the refund from 5 cents to 10 cents, which led to more participation.

Beverage containers now make up only 2.9 per cent of litter items in South Australia.

Each year South Australians, including sporting clubs, charities and the South Australian Scouts Association benefit from the scheme. Almost $60 million was returned to the community in 2016-17.

The container deposit scheme was declared a Heritage Icon in 2006 by the National Trust of South Australia in recognition of its role in contributing to the state’s cultural identity.

“For more than 35 years, South Australia was the only state or territory in the nation with a container deposit scheme,” said Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter.