Northern Territory Cash-for-Container Scheme becomes operative

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 3rd January 2012

The mandatory recycling and labelling scheme for beverage containers (“Cash for Containers”) in the Northern Territory came into operation on 3 January 2012.

The Northern Territory scheme has been modelled on South Australia’s but with some changes claiming to make the NT Cash for Containers scheme more transparent and efficient than the SA counterpart legislation.

This scheme aims to reduce litter from streets, increase recycling and help reduce the amount of rubbish going to the rubbish dumps by up to 50%. This is part of the NT Government’s $34 million Northern Territory Climate Change Policy and Territory 2030 Strategy.

There are opportunities for businesses, community-based organisations and municipal shires and councils to become involved in the scheme, and apply for Infrastructure Grants to establish a Collection Depot or Collection Point.

The Cash for Containers scheme  is also a fundraising opportunity for community groups and clubs and schools.

Only containers purchased in the Territory after 3 January 2012 will be eligible for a 10 cent refund.

The Northern Territory Government has announced that NT Coordinators, Envirobank NT, Statewide Recycling, NT Recycling Services and Marine Stores are the initial Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) Coordinators.

These CDS Coordinators have arrangements for initial collection depots  in Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine and Elliott, and are working with businesses in a number of other areas to establish collection depots that will provide reasonable access across the Territory.

The network of depots is expected to expand as the private sector and the community grasp the business and fundraising opportunities.

The role of CDS Coordinators is to work with the collection depots and industry to recycle, reuse or appropriately dispose of the materials. It is at these Collection Depots where Territorians can receive 10 cents in return for each eligible container.

Approval for Containers Required:

Any retailer that is unsure whether or not a product that it sells has been approved under the scheme can contact the the NT Waste Programs Team on 1800 752 632.

It is an offence under the scheme to sell containers that have not been approved for sale in the Northern Territory.

However, to allow for the transition to a combined SA/NT label, the current SA-only label will still be accepted in the Northern Territory until 31 December 2013 (10c refund at collection depots when sold in SA). After this date the SA-only label will not be accepted under the Northern Territory scheme.

Beverage and manufacturing or packaging companies should be applying for approvals and re-labelling their products appropriately.

There are proposals for a national scheme to be introduced. See the recent article in Australian Food News reporting on government discussions about the costings for a national scheme.

The law firm FOODLEGAL is running  intensive workshops in both Sydney and Melbourne concerning numerous aspects of recycling laws and environmental claims for beverages and foods and other consumer goods. For more details, click here.