The NSW government will introduce a state-wide beverage container recycling scheme, according to media reports.
The move towards cash for container schemes, which have long been battled by the beverage industry, will see 10 cents received for every beverage container returned to reverse vending machines.
However, it goes against the beverage industry and even the national branch of Keep Australia Beautiful’s alternative proposal for an increase in recycling bins.
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But, according to a letter from Premier Mike Baird to the National Packaging Covenant Industry Association obtained by Fairfax Media, “the NSW government favours the introduction of a state-based container deposit scheme”, with the alternative industry proposal presenting “significant policy and funding risk”.
The City of Sydney already has success with reverse vending machine technology, with a trial of two machines in the city collecting over 40,000 cans and bottles between July and December last year.
The government has committed to reducing litter in NSW by 40 per cent by 2016 compared to a 2011-12 baseline, with a cash for container scheme a key step to achieving its goal, as beverage containers account for one-third of all litter in NSW, according to figures from Clean Up Australia.
The move was welcomed by the Boomerang Alliance, a collective of 32 environment groups.
“We welcome the commitment to a cost effective and efficient scheme,” national convenor Jeff Angel said. “It’s been a long time coming after a ten-year campaign. There’s no doubt that NSW will benefit environmentally, economically and socially from the massive reduction in drink container litter.”
Mr Angel said the scheme would lead to more than 1000 new jobs, investment in the recycling industry worth hundreds of millions, and give a boost to charity income.
“NSW can have a world leading scheme and we are ready to assist the government in delivering it,” he said.