03.The Boomerang solution
As supported by the Boomerang Alliance, which consists of 26 national and state groups including Greenpeace, Total Environment Centre, Surfrider Foundation and Local Government NSW, a national container deposit scheme would be similar to the current deposit and refund scheme operating in South Australia.
The Boomerang Alliance model for a national container deposit scheme differs from the current SA scheme in that it would be run by a
national not-for-profit body rather than
the beverage companies. Boomerang
claims it will be self-funding, with the
initial 10c deposit going into a central
pool and the money from unredeemed
containers funding the scheme.
While in SA and NT containers are
usually taken in bulk to large depots, the Boomerang scheme proposes installing
parks. The RVMs,
which are used extensively in
Europe (and in particular in Germany,
which has a 95% recycling rate for
containers), give out a voucher, which
can be redeemed for cash or goods at
Larger bulk depots
or hubs would service cafes, pubs, hotels,
Local Government NSW calls this CDS
model an effective instrument to reduce rubbish
and increase recycling. Many consumers
have also indicated support - a June 2013
Newspoll of residents of NSW, Queensland and
Victoria showed 84% of respondents were in
favour of a deposit and refund scheme.
Opponents have called the container deposit scheme (CDS)
a “tax”, claiming it will impose
increased cost of living
pressures, and saying it only
targets beverage containers
rather than all packaging. The Australian Food
and Grocery Council
(AFCG) argues it won’t
benefit consumers because in
the first five years the CDS will
collect $2.1 billion more in deposits
than it will pay back to consumers. It also says it’ll increase retail prices,
reduce demand for beverages and
have a negative impact on jobs. Critics of the CDS also claim it’s more expensive than other waste management options.
CDS supporters agree the costs are higher, but argue that the running costs would be funded from the scheme itself by the unredeemed container deposits. While a national CDS will have high infrastructure costs, a group of five recycling companies has offered to invest $500m into infrastructure for a CDS scheme, which they say would create an estimated 3000 jobs and reclaim five billion containers per year.
The national CDS would come at the cost of a 10c increase in the price of a drink, but consumers seem prepared to accept this cost. Supporters point to the SA scheme, where the increase in the deposit price from five cents to 10 doesn’t appear to have had an impact in the volume of recycled containers.
A 2012 survey of South Australians found 98% approval of the current CDS. An independent analyst has also found that the cost to consumers, spread across the population, would be about 0.5 cents per container.
Coca-Cola has also been very vocal about its opposition. Its website claims
that, under a CDS, removing bottles and
cans from kerbside bins would increase
the costs of local councils.
However, a COAG (Council of Australian Governments) Packing Impacts report found that diversion of recyclables from kerbside and industrial collections would save councils and businesses $2.7 billion.
- The Australian Government says it will support a CDS if the state environment ministers agree to adopt it.
- CHOICE understands that, currently, all states support a national CDS except for Queensland.
- The Australian Greens support a CDS, as do most local government associations (the overarching bodies that represent local councils).
- The supermarkets are sitting on the fence, except for Metcash, owners of IGA, which supports it.
- The federal Opposition’s environment spokesperson declined to comment.