City container deposit trial heralds NSW scheme

The City of Sydney has welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to introduce a state-wide container deposit scheme to encourage recycling and reduce plastic pollution resulting from beverage containers.

The decision comes following the success of the City’s own program of reverse vending machines, which recycled more than two tonnes of aluminium cans and plastic drink bottles during a two-year trial.

The four machines at Haymarket, Circular Quay, Redfern and Wynyard offer small rewards such as a donation to charity and food truck vouchers in return for empty drink containers, and have collected more than 150,000 containers since 2014.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the reverse vending machines had been highly successful, proving the community wants to do the right thing by recycling and disposing of drink containers responsibly.

“We’re delighted the NSW Government is introducing a container deposit scheme to encourage recycling, reduce littering and create behaviour change when it comes to recycling in public places,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Our reverse vending machines trial has been extremely popular, with people taking to this active means of keeping plastic pollution off our streets and out of our waterways. By using these reverse vending machines, they have saved 150,000 containers from landfill and helped turn rubbish into a valuable resource.”

“When a state-wide program is introduced, there will be a mass reduction in drinks containers being littered or going to landfill, and instead being recycled into a valuable resource.

“Container deposit schemes have been embraced by the public and have produced impressive recycling rates across Australia and globally. We applaud the NSW Government for getting on board with a scheme we have been calling on for some time to encourage people to recycle with the offer of 10 cents for every beverage container returned.”

Narelle Andersen, founder of Envirobank Recycling, develops reverse vending machines, such as those used by the City, and said they have revolutionised recycling.

“We have embarked on a mission to change the way we recycle in Australia through automation and innovation,” Ms Anderson said.

“Our experience working with reverse vending machines has demonstrated when a 10 cent return-fee is introduced for beverage containers, the litter literally disappears overnight.

“Container deposit schemes also provide huge social benefits. This is demonstrated by not-for-profits and community groups who are then incentivised to collect plastic pollution and turn it into dollars for fundraising, producing services for the most marginalised in the community.

“We applaud the City of Sydney for introducing Sydneysiders to the benefits of reverse vending machines and responsibly recycling thousands of beverage containers.”

The City will leave two reverse vending machines at Redfern and Circular Quay until the NSW Government’s scheme begins mid-2017.

The National Litter Index states that drink containers account for around 44 per cent of all litter in public places.

The City has also implemented a range of recycling initiatives including recycling stations for batteries, light bulbs and mobile phones at libraries and customer service centres. The City also offers free, quarterly e-waste drop-off events.