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Victoria slow to follow SA’s lead on container deposit scheme

Victoria is set to be the last state to have a Container Deposit (CD) recycling scheme, despite South Australia having one since 1977.

South Australians, sporting clubs and communities have collected bottles to deposit for a monetary value, initially for a 10 or 20 cent value for re-usable bottles, but lessened to 5c when aluminium cans came to the forefront. Since 2008, the scheme has been to a 10c value.

On the Flow Morning Show, host Wayne Phillips reviews the different states' approach to keeping bottles, cans and cartons out of the rubbish and into the recycling. You can listen to the segment in the FlowNews24 podcast player. The article continues further below.

The Northern Territory followed suit almost 40 years later.

Other states, including NSW (2017), the ACT (June 2018), QLD (November 2018) and WA (October 2020) have also introduced a CD system.

With Tasmania and Victoria set to implement the scheme in 2022 and 2023 respectively, there is concern surrounding whether Victoria will follow a more corporate-friendly model similar to NSW.

New South Wales signed deals with waste management companies and saw a proliferation of 'reverse vending machines' into which consumers could place their bottles and cans for automatic payment.

The South Australian model sees consumers take their bottles, cans and cartons to a 'recycling centre' where volunteers or staff manually sort the items and provide a payment to the consumer. The recycling centre is later reimbursed through the scheme.

The NSW model leaves less room for organisations such as ‘Scouts Recycling Centre’, and similar community collection centres that operate primarily community, not private, benefit.

South Australian communities have benefited for decades from collection incentives by the Scouts and club-driven bottle-and-can drives.

Communal recycling bins are set out at organisations such as sporting clubs, schools, restaurants, cafes, retailers and businesses.

The recycling deposits provide a valuable financial ‘helping hand’ to support these organisations, also encouraging recycling and taking care of the environment.

Scout Victoria said in their most recent annual report:

“It is likely that Scouts Victoria will make a decision in the next year as to whether we participate in The State Government’s Container Deposit Scheme.
“It appears there is a wide range of options on how Scouting in Victoria might participate in this potentially profitable can and bottle recycling program.”
“This could become a major venture and there will need to be broad input as the options are refined.


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