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WA Container Deposit Scheme

Western Australia’s container deposit scheme, Containers for Change, will start on Tuesday, 2 June 2020.

Containers for Change allows consumers to take empty beverage containers covered by the scheme to a refund point to receive a refund of 10 cents.

The scheme has benefits including reducing litter, increasing recycling, protecting the environment and providing opportunities for social enterprise participation. It will complement the Litter Prevention Strategy for Western Australia 2015-20 and the waste strategy.

The scheme will complement kerbside recycling and existing waste services. The refund will encourage people to collect and recycle beverage containers consumed away from home.

Planning consideration for scheme infrastructure

A consistent and co-ordinated approach to container deposit scheme facilities is a key issue in the roll out of the scheme. The Western Australian Planning Commission has finalised the State Government's position on how container deposit scheme infrastructure should be considered and assessed in the Western Australian planning system. 

The Position Statement also includes a Model Local Planning Policy that provides exemptions for container deposit scheme infrastructure proposals which satisfy minimum development standards. 

For more information, read the Position Statement. 

Register of interest

A register of interest has been developed for organisations who want to participate in the collection network for the container deposit scheme. The register will help organisations to connect and create partnerships within the collection network including donation points, refund points, transport and processing facilities.

You can enter your organisation’s details in the online register and share the services you are offering and seeking.

For more details go to Register of interest

Legislation

To establish and implement Western Australia's container deposit scheme (CDS), amendments were made to the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 and new regulations and protocols were required. 

Changes to the Act

The amended Act – the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Amendment Act 2019 – includes provisions to allow WA to establish and implement a container deposit scheme. The amendments were published in the Government Gazette on 18 April 2019.

Changes to the regulations

The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Regulations 2019 were published in the Government Gazette on 18 April 2019. The regulations now provide for the appointment and functions of a coordinator to operate the scheme and create CDS civil penalty provisions.

Additional regulations and the related protocols are being developed to include provisions for the detailed operation of the scheme.

Refund mark labels

WA allows a transition period for refund mark labels

There will be a 24-month transition period from the scheme's start date, 2 June 2020, during which a first responsible supplier may legally supply beverages in containers that do not carry the refund mark. 

This will allow suppliers to use up stock with a long shelf life and container labels they have already printed. After the transition period, it will be unlawful to supply an eligible container without a refund mark.

Because the same refund mark is used in other Australian states and territories with existing schemes, it is expected that many containers in WA will already carry the refund mark when the scheme starts.

Transitional arrangement

There will be a 24-month transition period from the scheme's starting date, when a first supplier will be allowed to supply beverages in containers that do not carry the refund mark. This arrangement will allow existing stock to be supplied.

Eligible containers must contain a barcode from the start of the scheme to enable automatic recognition of eligible containers. Most containers already carry a barcode. For more information, see frequently asked questions (FAQs) about refund marks below.

Refund mark FAQs

What compels beverage companies to use the refund mark?

It is an offence to supply a beverage in an eligible container unless the first responsible supplier has a supply agreement with the scheme coordinator (to pay collection costs), the container has been approved (to ensure it can be recycled) and the container bears the refund mark (to enable consumers to identify eligible containers).

Will WA introduce a transition period for refund mark labels?

Yes. Because the same refund mark is used in other Australian states and territories, it is expected that almost all containers in WA will carry the refund mark when the scheme starts. 

There will be a 24-month transition period from the scheme's starting date during which a first responsible supplier will be allowed to supply beverages in containers that do not carry the refund mark.

This will allow suppliers to use up stock with a long shelf life and container labels they have already printed. After the transition period, it will be unlawful for the supplier to supply an eligible container without a refund mark.

Will WA use the same refund mark used elsewhere in Australia?

Yes. All states and territories with container deposit schemes (New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and the Northern Territory) have agreed to use the same refund mark.

The refund mark must state: “10c refund at collection depots/points in participating State/Territory of purchase”.

The refund mark must be displayed in a colour and size that ensure it is clear and legible. It is recommended that the numeral ‘10’ be a minimum of 3 mm in height with a minimum 3 mm ‘free space’ boundary around the refund mark.

There will be a transition period in WA allowing a first responsible supplier to supply a container without an eligible refund mark for 24 months after the scheme begins.

Monitoring beverage price changes

The Economic Regulation Authority will monitor the prices of beverages sold in Western Australia before and after the commencement of the container deposit scheme.

This will ensure that any increased beverage costs attributed to the scheme reflect the actual costs of the scheme. For more information, see the Terms of Reference for the Report.

Market research on customer preferences for refund point type

Market research was undertaken in 2018 on customer refund point preferences. The research was based on input from focus groups and in-depth interviews covering disabled, remote and Aboriginal community requirements.

This research may assist potential refund point operators to develop infrastructure that meets community expectations.

For more information, please read Introducing a CDS in WA – key considerations for refund point options.

Minimum network standards: Refund point locations and hours of operation

The Minimum network standards: Refund point locations and hours of operation have now been finalised.

The document sets minimum requirements for the location and distribution of container deposit scheme refund points and their hours of operation. The Scheme Coordinator will be required to meet the minimum requirements.

A consultation summary has been developed to indicate how the minimum network standards have been adjusted to account for issues raised during the consultation.

This consultation summary provides an example network meeting the minimum standards to provide indicative locations and refund point numbers.

We received 19 submissions.

Scheme coordinator

WA Return Recycle Renew (WARRRL), a not-for-profit organisation, has been appointed as the scheme coordinator for Containers for Change.

The appointment on 18 July 2019 follows WARRRL’s selection, which was announced on 14 May 2019 in this media statement.

Decision regulation impact statement

The decision regulation impact statement has been finalised. This assesses the costs and benefits of the WA container deposit scheme. It finds benefits of $1.29 for every $1 of costs. Over a 20-year period the scheme is projected to result in:

• 0.7 billion fewer beverage containers being littered

• 5.9 billion fewer beverage containers ending up in landfill, and

• 6.6 billion more beverage containers being recycled.

A consultation regulation impact statement, providing a preliminary assessment of the costs and benefits of the scheme was open for a four-week comment period from 13 August until 10 September 2018. Twelve submissions were received.

The decision regulation impact statement amends the consultation regulation impact statement in the following ways:

• It considers relevant issues raised in submissions about the consultation regulation impact statement.

• It updates the assessment for progress in the design and development of the scheme that have taken place since the consultation regulation impact statement was released. (This includes expanded and refined scheme objectives and final minimum refund point numbers in the Minimum network standards: refund point locations and hours of operation.

The decision regulation impact statement has been considered by the WA Government’s Better Regulation Unit in line with the Regulatory Impact Assessment guidelines for Western Australia.

It has also been considered by the Commonwealth Government’s Office of Best Practice Regulation as the container deposit scheme will require an exemption under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cwlth) and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (Cwlth).

During the four-week consultation period, the following 12 submissions were received.

  1. Australasian Association of Convenience Stores
  2. Care for Hedland Environmental Association
  3. Coles
  4. Consumer’s Association of WA
  5. Greenbatch
  6. Leslie Hodgson
  7. Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (New Zealand)
  8. Murray Cook
  9. Peel Preservation Group Inc.
  10. Steve Walker
  11. Unattended Sales Australia Pty Ltd
  12. WALGA

Beverage containers covered by the scheme

The scheme targets beverage containers most commonly seen as litter. The types of beverage containers covered in the scheme include plastic and glass bottles, paper-board cartons, and steel and aluminium cans between 150 millilitres and three litres. Examples of eligible beverage containers in the scheme include:

  • soft drink cans and bottles;
  • bottled waters – both plastic and glass;
  • small flavoured milk drinks;
  • beer and cider cans and bottles; and
  • sports drinks and spirit-based mixed drinks.

A more detailed list of covered and excluded containers is available.

Advisory and working groups

To assist in the design of the container deposit scheme, stakeholder groups have been established.

Advisory Group

The Minister has established the Container Deposit Scheme Advisory Group with members from the community, the beverage, retail and waste industries and local government. The Department chairs and provides secretariat support to the Advisory Group.

Further information on the CDS Advisory Group is located in the Terms of Reference.

Technical Working Groups

Technical working groups provide advice on detailed technical design issues for implementation of the container deposit scheme.

  • Beverage and Retail Industry Liaison
  • Logistics and Resource Recovery
  • Local Government (WALGA CDS Policy Forum)
  • Community and Environment

Frequently asked questions

Why does Western Australia need a container deposit scheme?

A container deposit scheme aims to reduce litter and improve recycling. Beverage containers account for 35% of all litter by volume in WA.

South Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, have schemes in place. The states with long standing schemes have the lowest volume of beverage container litter in Australia. Along with Western Australia, Queensland has started implementing a container scheme.

How will the scheme work in Western Australia?

Anyone returning an empty eligible beverage container with a refund mark to a refund point (including reverse vending machines) will receive a 10 cent refund. The scheme will operate statewide.

What is the reason behind the delay in implementing the scheme?

Following consultation, advice from the advisory group and experience in other jurisdictions, the state government has decided that the scheme should start in June 2020. This will ensure adequate time for industry and the community to prepare for implementation.

What items are included?

The scheme targets beverage containers most commonly seen as litter.

Examples of beverage containers between 150 millilitres and three litres in volume eligible for the refund include:

  • soft drink cans and bottles;
  • bottled waters – both plastic and glass;
  • small flavoured milk drinks;
  • beer and cider cans and bottles; and
  • sports drinks and spirit-based mixed drinks.

Containers that are not part of the scheme include:

  • plain milk (or milk substitute) containers;
  • flavoured milk containers of one litre or more;
  • pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of one litre or more;
  • glass containers for wine and spirits;
  • casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine and casks for water – one litre or more;
  • sachets for wine of 250 millilitres or more;
  • containers for cordials, concentrated fruit/vegetable juices; and
  • registered health tonics.

A more detailed list of containers is available.

Why are milk containers and wine bottles not part of the scheme?

The scheme focuses on beverage containers that are usually consumed away from home and that are most commonly found as litter. Milk containers and wine bottles are mostly consumed in homes and placed in domestic recycling bins.

Can I start collecting empty containers now?

No. The 10 cent refund will only apply to containers acquired after the scheme commences.

Will I have to pay more for drinks which are eligible under the scheme? 

The cost of cans and bottles may increase to reflect the refund and scheme costs.

What happens to the containers redeemed at refund points?

Containers left at refund points will be sorted into material type (glass, aluminium, PET plastic or HDPE plastic etc.). The sorted containers will then be sent to a recycler for further processing and/or recycling or delivery to a final recycling destination.

Evidence that the beverage containers have been sent to a recycler will be provided by the refund point operators to the scheme coordinator.

How can I be sure that the containers are being recycled?

It is intended that the WA legislation will prohibit refunded beverage containers from being sent to landfill. The NSW and Queensland container deposit scheme legislation prohibits refunded containers from being sent to landfill.

Refund point operators will need to provide evidence to the scheme coordinator that refunded containers have been sent to recyclers. The scheme coordinator will audit the refund point operators. The scheme administrator will have the capacity to audit the scheme coordinator and undertake additional audits if required.

What else is the government doing to reduce litter?

The State Government is committed to reducing waste and litter across all waste streams. The CDS will complement the Litter Prevention Strategy for Western Australia 2015–20 and the waste strategy.

Should I continue recycling at home?

Yes. Recycling, whether through the scheme or at home, benefits the environment.

Reducing our waste and improving our recycling is important. The latest national waste data (2014/15) shows that Western Australians on average sent 1.4 tonnes of waste to landfill per capita, which is the third highest rate in the country.

Recycling has positive economic benefits—creating more jobs than sending waste to landfill. Every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled creates 9.2 full-time jobs compared with 2.8 jobs when the same amount of waste is sent to landfill.

When will the scheme start and how can I get more information?

The McGowan Government is working through the details with government, industry and community stakeholders to develop the best possible container deposit scheme for Western Australia. The scheme is expected to start in June 2020.

Information on the webpage will be regularly updated, and you can sign up to our mailing list (please see Updates below). 

How many jobs will be created?

Recycling has positive economic benefits—creating more jobs than sending waste to landfill. Every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled creates 9.2 full-time jobs compared with 2.8 jobs when the same amount of waste is sent to landfill.

Additional jobs will be created to operate the collection network. For example, South Australia estimates that approximately 1,000 people are employed through its collection network.

Contact us

Contact us about the WA container deposit scheme.

Phone: 6364 7222

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Updates

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Request for Proposal for the Scheme Coordinator