National Container Deposit Scheme opposed by Visy in Victoria

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 30th January 2012

While Australian environment ministers reported on December 15, 2011 the substantial costs of a national Container Depositing Scheme (CDS), Australia’s leading recycling company Visy is advocating against a similar scheme for Victoria.

As previously reported by Australian Food News, the Northern Territory (NT) has now implemented its own “Cash for Containers” recycling scheme, modelled on South Australia (SA)’s Container Deposit scheme, which has been operating since 1977.

Although there have been suggestions that the SA/NT schemes ought to encompass the whole country, a contrary view has been expressed by recycling company Visy in its presentation to the Standing Committee on Environment and Planning on 17 November, 2011.

Visy argued that in Victoria there is a successful kerbside scheme whereby containers are deposited in waste bins with rubbish for collection. Visy said that any proposed CDS in Victoria “will remove valuables from the kerbside stream and result in a net negative impact on Visy and its key stakeholders” with minimal improvement in the recycling rate.

Visy suggested the following impact on kerbside volumes, by comparing with data from SA with that of the Victorian Material Recovery Facilities (MRF), if a CDS scheme was to be implemented in Victoria. Kerbside volumes would fall by 15-20 percent, with glass volumes reduced by 55 percent, aluminium by 92 percent and PET by 73 percent.

What this means for Visy and its municipal-council MRF customers is that these changes would undermine the processing of the remaining 80 percent of current kerbside material. Customer councils receive 20 percent less certain payments. The rate Visy pays would be adjusted in time downward by the value of the commodities removed, less the increased value of the residual deposit commodities. Visy says the scheme would cost $4-6 million in total.

Visy also argues that if a CDS scheme were to be implemented in Victoria, additional recycling volumes that will come from a CDS scheme would not justify the cost to the community of a new system being implemented, measured against the negative impact it may have on the already well-established kerbside collection system.

Visy also believe that the Victorian kerbside system has proven itself to have functioned well through the combined efforts of the Recycling Industry, the government and the public.