Local Government NSW (formerly LGSA) advocate strongly for a state and national Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), and have recently:
- Commissioned a study and report into the costs and benefits of CDS for councils and kerbside recycling systems. Download a copy of the full report (PDF, 1.46MB).
- Prepared a submission (PDF, 211KB) to the Regulatory Impact Statement for Packaging Waste, which will be considered by the COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water at their August 2012 meeting.
- Undertaken ongoing lobbying as a member of the Boomerang Alliance, which includes major environmental groups such as Total Environment Centre, Clean Up Australia etc.
Why a CDS?
For many years, the LGSA has waged a protracted campaign towards the introduction of a State and National Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) for beverage containers.
South Australia has enjoyed a ten cent deposit / refund CDS since 1975, and the Northern Territory recently (December 2011) introduced a similar scheme.
Many European countries and many states of the USA and Canada have CDS, and there is overwhelming community support for its introduction and continuance.
CDS also results in a significant reduction in litter. It also imparts social benefits to community groups, scout groups etc, who can raise valuable income from the collection and redemption of containers.
The rationale behind Local Government NSW's push for a CDS is:
- Current kerbside recycling is extremely costly and does not address away-from-home consumption. CDS represents a significant cost saving for councils.
- Despite the success of kerbside recycling, return rates for beverage containers are quite low, in the order of 40 per cent for some plastics.
- CDS has demonstrated return rates for the same containers in the order of 85 per cent, so represents a much better environmental outcome.
- A CDS which involves a deposit/refund of 10 cents shifts the responsibility (both financial and physical) onto the user, to behave responsibility, rather than spreading that cost across ratepayers.
- A CDS which is industry funded (at a quite moderate level) is more consistent with the principles of extended producer responsibility (EPR).
Industry (notably the packaging and beverage industries and the Retailers Association) have waged a long campaign to prevent the introduction of CDS and have lobbied Ministers strongly to prevent its introduction.
In 2006, the LGSA became a founder member of the Boomerang Alliance, a consortium of environment groups such as the Total Environment Centre and Clean Up Australia. This has leant significant strength to the push for CDS.
The National and State Environment Ministers are scheduled to consider a Regulatory impact Statement on options for packaging waste (including a CDS) in mid 2012.
Definitive Independent Study finds Container Deposits bring financial, social and environmental benefits for councils and communities.
A newly released independent study has found that, despite many long standing, unsubstantiated assertions from other stakeholders, a container deposit system (CDS) will financially, socially and environmentally benefit local councils and their communities.
The study, commissioned by the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW, and prepared by Mike Ritchie and Associates (MRA), found that:
Council kerbside recycling service costs would be reduced by 19-47% under a CDS.
NSW councils could save $23 to $62 million annually on recycling costs.
Councils across Australia could save $69 to $183 million annually.
Recycling is likely to results in a payment as opposed to a charge to councils at the MRF gate.
Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) would also benefit financially under a CDS (with revenues increased by up to 31%).
There would be significant benefits to recycling in regional/rural/remote locations, where kerbside systems are not practicable or efficient.
Councils would experience significantly reduced litter collection costs, and reduced environmental education costs.
There are also clear environmental and social benefits to the introduction of CDS, largely resulting from the high return rates and opportunities for community groups to become involved in the recycling of containers.