WA Container Deposit Scheme (CDS)

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.

Legislation

The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 includes provisions to allow WA to establish and implement the container deposit scheme.

The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Regulations 2019 provide for the appointment and functions of the scheme coordinator to operate the scheme and to create CDS civil penalty provisions.

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

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 visit www.erawa.com.au/containerdeposits.

Refund mark and barcode

Refund mark

Eligible containers must display the scheme refund mark.

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.

Transitional arrangement for refund marks

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. After the transition period all eligible containers sold in Western Australia must have a refund mark.

Barcode

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.

Scheme coordinator

WA Return Recycle Renew (WARRRL), a not-for-profit company established under the Corporations Act, was appointed on 18 July 2019 as the scheme coordinator for Containers for Change subject to conditions of appointment.

Reporting Code

The scheme coordinator is required to report performance data to the Minister and to the general public.

The reporting code specifies the information that the scheme coordinator is required to report in the annual report, the quarterly report and the monthly report, and on its website.

Regular reporting enables assessment of performance and achievement against the statutory objectives of the container deposit scheme and the statutory functions of the scheme coordinator under Part 3 Division 3 of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Regulations 2019.

The Reporting Code will be reviewed, at a minimum, within five years of its publication. Quarterly and monthly reporting requirements, which are primarily required during the establishment of the scheme, will be reviewed within two years of the starting date of the scheme.

Advisory and technical working groups

Advisory Group

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

CDS Advisory Group 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 and Local Government
  • Community and Environment
  • Local Government (WALGA CDS Policy Forum)

Decision regulation impact statement

The decision regulation impact statement 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).

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.

Why does Western Australia need a container deposit scheme?

The container deposit scheme aims to reduce litter and improve recycling. Beverage containers account for 44% of all litter by volume in WA (2017-18 National Litter Index).

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

How will the scheme work in Western Australia?

You can return an empty eligable beverage container to a refund point to receive a 10 cent refund. The scheme will operate state-wide.

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

The container deposit scheme – Containers for Change – starts on Tuesday, 2 June 2020.

Further information is available from the scheme coordinator WA Return Recycle Renew – you can visit their website https://warrrl.com.au or call 13 42 42.

What items are included?

The scheme aims to align with schemes in other Australian jurisdictions.

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 aligns the list of included containers with that in other States and Territories to reduce consumer confusion and beverage supplier cost.

Can I start collecting empty containers now?

The 10 cent refund will only apply to containers purchased after the scheme commences. Under the legislation, containers collected prior to the commencement date will not be eligible for refunds. However, littered beverage containers collected after the scheme commencement will be accepted as within the spirit of the scheme which aims to reduce litter.

Where will refund points be located?

A convenient and accessible network of more than 170 refund points will be open for business across WA when Containers for Change starts on 2 June 2020. A minimum of 229 refund points will be open by June 2021.

The scheme coordinator WA Return Recycle Renew is currently assessing the submissions received through an open application process to establish refund points. This will determine the location of refund points.

WA Return Recycle Renew is required to meet the Minimum network standards: Refund point locations and hours of operation. The consultation summary provides further information and indicative locations for refund points.

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.

In New South Wales, the price of all eligible container beverages increased by an average of 7.7 cents per container due to the CDS and a similar change in price is expected to occur in Western Australia. The Economic Regulation Authority has been commissioned to monitor beverage prices before and after the scheme commences to measure any price changes.

What happens to the containers redeemed at refund points?

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

How can I be sure that the containers are recycled?

Western Australian legislation prohibits refunded beverage containers from being sent to landfill.

Should I continue recycling at home?

Yes. Recycling, whether through the scheme or at home, benefits the environment. Recycling of beverage containers placed in yellow-top bins will continue after the scheme starts.

Reducing our waste and improving our recycling is important. The latest national waste data (2016-17) shows that Western Australians on average sent 0.92 tonnes of waste to landfill per capita, which is the fourth highest rate in the country.

How many jobs will be created?

Containers for Change is expected to create about 500 jobs across the State operating the collection network, processing and transport.

Recycling has positive economic benefits and creates 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.

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. 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.

What else is the government doing to reduce waste and litter?

The State Government is committed to reducing waste and litter across all waste streams. The Government has banned lightweight plastic bags and is working towards reducing single-use plastic items. These programs and the container deposit scheme complement the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 and the Litter Prevention Strategy for Western Australia 2015-2020.

The Government funds litter prevention programs, including community engagement and school education, data collection and enforcement. The Government also funds the Community and Industry Engagement program to support projects that contribute to the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, and the Waste Wise Schools program, which includes grants for waste minimisation projects.

Contacts

For consumers

Containers for Change

Phone: 13 42 42

For business participants and donation points

WA Return Recycle Renew

Phone: 13 42 42

E-mail: info@warrrl.com.au

For regulatory queries

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

Phone: 08 6364 7222

E-mail: cds@dwer.wa.gov.au

Updates

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