NSW is putting a 10 cent bounty on drink bottles

Photo: Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

New South Wales will become just the second state in Australia to introduce a container deposit scheme (CDS), with premier Mike Baird announcing that each bottle will attract a 10 cent bounty from July 2017.

So far in Australia, only South Australia, which introduced it in 1977, and the Northern Territory have CDS, with Queensland likely to follow NSW’s lead in 2018.

An estimated 10 billion drink containers are thrown away in Australia annually.

The NSW government’s decision comes despite sustained lobbying from most quarters of the beverages industry.

Four years ago, three major drinks companies Lion Nathan, Coca-Cola Amatil, and Schweppes, launched legal action to block the Northern Territory introducing its CDS, and won, claiming the CDS breached Commonwealth law. The Territory government then successfully sought an exemption from the law to introduce its scheme.

Responding to the NSW news, Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) told the ASX that there was no immediate impact for the company given the time frame.

“CCA is working through the potential implications and once further details are known, will update the market as appropriate,” the company said in a statement.

“CCA will continue to work with the NSW Government and other stakeholders to assist in developing a cost efficient scheme that contributes to the achievement of litter reduction.”

The 10 cent deposit will apply to drink containers sized between 150ml and three litres with a NSW CDS label and will be paid for by the beverage industry. Anyone who returns a container will be paid 10 cents, creating a new fundraising method for schools, sporting and community groups prepared to round up stray bottles.

The NSW government is looking at stand-alone reverse-vending-machines, something already trialled by the City of Sydney council in the CBD, as well as large-scale depots and pop-up sites.

Baird says the CDS is the single largest initiative ever undertaken to reduce litter in the state, having set a target of a 40% reduction in volume by 2020.

“Giving people a financial incentive to do the right thing and recycle drink containers will help to significantly reduce the estimated 160 million drink containers littered every year,” he said.

In South Australia, around 600 people are employed as a result of its scheme. Victoria may also look at signing up in the wake of the NSW decision, while West Australian would prefer a national scheme.

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