04.The National Bin Network
Opponents argue that a container deposit scheme (CDS) is an unnecessary burden on the community - and that current industry-driven schemes have increased the national packaging recycling rate from 39% in 2003 to 63% in 2010, and improved environmental outcomes with smart packaging redesigns.
Teaming up with Schweppes Australia,
Lion and the packaging giants Visy and
Amcor, Coca-Cola’s preferred beverage container waste solution is
the National Bin Network.
National Bin Network (NBN) is an extension of the Australian Packaging Covenant, an existing
waste reduction agreement between
government, industry and community
groups and the Australian Food and Grocery Council Packaging Stewardship Forum, which runs voluntary industry
recycling, litter reduction
and education programs.
The NBN proposes
installing 30,000 twin
bins – with one for recycling and one for rubbish – in public spaces
such as shopping centres and airports. The $100m investment needed for the NBN over five years will be paid for by the packaging industry and the beverage brand owners via levies.
However, while the NBN pays for the bins, it doesn’t pay for their installation, maintenance and waste collection costs. Nor does it collect data on recycling rates. That falls to the recipients of the bins - local councils, for example.
One concern about the twin-bin system
is the high levels of “contamination”
by non-recyclable rubbish and food,
which reduces the value of the collected
containers as the waste has to be
re-sorted after collection.The AFGC
says contamination rates can be reduced
with effective bin design and
However, others argue that
while concentrating on commercial
locations is a start, it’s not enough to solve
the problem. A recent report found that
despite having 212 bins, including 37
recycling bins, over four cubic metres
of rubbish is manually collected from
Bondi Beach every day.
Pro-CDS campaigners have
variously described the NBN scheme as
“tokenism” and a “smokescreen” by the
companies who create the waste.
Of all the options considered, a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) report has estimated that the Boomerang
CDS would result in the highest beverage
container recycling rates (reaching 85%
However, both schemes will
increase beverage recycling rates, so can
the CDS and NBN co-exist?
Clean Up Australia’s Ian Kiernan -
who has strongly criticised Coca-Cola
for its stance on the CDS and for the
multinational’s interference in domestic
politics - concedes that as a broad spectrum
approach is required for the
problem of waste, he would be happy
for the NBN to co-exist with a
The AFGC claims
the NBN and CDS are
Coca-Cola declined to
say whether it would
continue to roll out
more NBN bins if
the national CDS
So what happens next?
meeting of state environment ministers in April
2013 noted “progress”
in the deliberations
of their preferred
options for managing packaging waste, including beverage containers. A
decision is expected
to be announced
before the end of