AUSTRALIA – The Northern Territory government is in the midst of implementing a container deposit scheme to tackle its litter problem. To be launched in late 2011, the scheme covers almost all beverage containers.
Cash for Containers is the container deposit scheme that returns 10 cents to consumers for every purchased eligible beverage container which they empty and clean after use, and take to a collection depot in the Northern Territory.
Eligible beverage containers include flavoured milks and fruit juices in containers less than one litre, and containers up to and including three litres for sports and vitamin drinks, soft drinks, still and sparkling water, various alcoholic beverages.
To be implemented in “late 2011”, Cash for Containers will see the Northern Territory become the second jurisdiction in Australia to commit to a Container Deposit Scheme, after the South Australian Government introduced its legislation in 1975.
The scheme was passed by the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in February 2011 under the Environment Protection (Beverage Containers and Plastic Bags) Bill, which aims to reduce litter, increase recycling efforts, and help reduce the amount of waste going to the Territory’s landfill by up to 50%.
Explaining the basis for such a scheme, the Northern Territory government said “Cash for Containers provides an enduring and transformative solution to waste management that will drive a recycling and improved waste management culture in the community and have a ripple effect across the Territory.”
It also stressed that the scheme is not a tax, and that it will be administrated by the beverage industry.
The packaging industry however disagrees its necessity. Gavin Williams, chief executive of the Packaging Council of Australia, said, ''We believe it is not necessary. A container deposit scheme is a collection system and we already have kerbside recycling covering more than 90% of households,'' he said.
''Beverage containers are less than 5% of the waste stream and less than 10% of the litter stream.''