Food and Grocery Council proposes alternative to NSW container recycling system

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 29th March 2016


An election promise made by Premier Mike Baird, the container deposit scheme will reward the public with 10c each container they return and recycle. Similar programs were established in South Australia and the Northern Territory in the 1970s and continue to operate today.

The AFGC however says it has a more effective solution that will prevent community members being tempted to scavenge through rubbish looking for containers.

“The beverage industry believes the first priority of any waste solution must be a cleaner NSW, but it must also minimise the cost impact on consumers and industry, avoid duplication of existing waste collection and disposal infrastructure and ensure NSW remains an attractive place to do business,” said Garry Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of AFGC.

Thirst for Good [the name of AFGC’s recycling initiative proposal] has been designed to plug the gaps in the State’s existing litter and recycling infrastructure and meet the Government’s objectives without increasing costs for consumers, impacting industry sustainability or duplicating existing infrastructure,” the AFGC’s CEO said.

The ‘Thirst for Good’ program 

AFGC’s ‘Thirst for Good’ program consists of the following components suggested for implementation in NSW instead of a container deposit scheme:

  1. “Cash for Communities” – The NSW government provides every local council in NSW with a trailer it can lend to community groups to collect recyclables in return for a financial reward.
  2. More litter collectors – 100 additional litter collectors to target “litter hotspots” in NSW. Littler collectors would be full-time employees who would be trained to collect rubbish with appropriate tools and protection. “Litter hotspots” are defined as locations such as highways, parks and beaches were rubbish often accumulates.
  3. More bins – 200 additional bins in “litter hotspots” and funding to ensure that they are emptied regularly. The AFGC says these bins will add to the over 50, 000 public bins located across NSW. It expects that the food and beverage industry will donate the bins along with paying for the maintenance and emptying of the bins.
  4. Reverse vending machines – Already located in some parts of NSW, the reverse vending machines accept recyclable packing in exchange for rewards like movie and sporting event tickets. AFGC suggests more of these machines need to be located in places where rubbish is likely to accumulate.
  5. More funding for recycling education – Increased funding to educate the public on the need to recycle and to help change bad habits.

The NSW State Government has now closed its consultation period on the container deposit scheme and is expected to implement a finalised new recycling scheme in July 2017.  Beverage bottles packaging will need to refer to and comply with changed regulation under the new structure.