OPINION: Container scheme plans to reduce litter

In less than a year you will be able to be refunded when you recycle drink containers.

But while there will be the option, will a container deposit scheme (CDS) reduce the chance of us seeing plastic bottles on the side of roads or strewn across beaches of the Far South Coast?

The NSW government plans to implement its CDS in July 2017. Under the scheme, a 10 cent refund will be paid for every eligible drink container between 150 millilitres and three litres when returned to a depot or reverse vending machine.

Many already recycle with the aim of preserving resources or protecting the environment, but this scheme will provide a monetary incentive for the litter bugs who do not think those two reasons are enough. 

A major reason for littering is the sheer laziness of not holding onto your rubbish until you find a bin to dispose of it. So a question remains over if these people will be bothered to hold onto their items to receive their cash. 

Extreme examples of littering can be seen travelling regions such as South East Asia, where piles of trash are often spotted alongside roads. 

While Australia has not reached this level, it still has a major problem.

According to the NSW Environmental Protection Authority, about 160 million drink containers were littered in NSW in 2014–15. The containers make up the largest proportion of the state’s litter volume, or about 44 per cent. 

Due to the pollution, the CDS is part of the NSW government’s plan to reduce the volume of litter by 40 per cent by 2020. 

The cost of the refunds under the scheme will be shouldered by the beverage suppliers – either manufacturers, importers, wholesalers or retailers - that bring the containers into NSW. 

But companies have disagreed with such schemes. When the state government announced plans for a CDS, major beverage companies provided an alternative proposal of a "$15 million annual investment by the beverage industry in a suite of programs aimed specifically at reducing litter".

When the Northern Territory introduced a CDS, companies including Coca-Cola successfully took the territory’s government to the Federal Court to have the plan overturned. 

However, in 2013 an exemption to the federal law was granted for the scheme to continue. 

Photo by Dominic Lorrimer

Photo by Dominic Lorrimer