From 2 June 2020, the container deposit scheme, called Containers for Change, will allow consumers to take eligible empty drink containers to refund points to obtain a 10 cent refund. Drink containers account for 44 per cent of litter by volume in Western Australia and this initiative will reduce litter, increase recycling and provide opportunities for social enterprise participation.
Modelling shows that over 20 years the scheme will recycle an additional 6.6 billion containers, of which 5.9 billion containers would have been landfilled and 706 million containers would have been littered. It will also create around 500 new jobs and provide significant opportunities for social enterprises and community groups to generate additional revenue, while complementing existing recycling efforts.
Substantial progress was made during the year on preparations for the scheme, with the department consulting with the community and other jurisdictions to help design the scheme. An advisory group of experts from across Australia also meets on a monthly basis to assist. This advisory group is supported by three technical working groups that provide guidance on operational considerations as the scheme develops.
Legislation to establish the scheme was passed in March and the first regulations were made on 18 April 2019. The regulations deal with matters such as the appointment process, performance targets, reporting and the civil penalty regime. Further regulations are being prepared. Minimum network standards have been set to ensure that refund points are easy to access for 98 per cent of the population.
On 14 May 2019, the Minister for Environment announced the selection of a coordinator for the container deposit scheme – a not-for-profit company named WA Return Recycle Renew Ltd. This company will be responsible for running the scheme and ensuring it meets all objectives set by the government.
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