Coca-Cola Amatil and Lion have joined forces with their biggest competitors as coordinators of the new Container Deposit Scheme, dubbed ‘Return and Earn’, which is due to launch in December this year.
A joint venture between Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA), Lion, Asahi, CUB and Coopers, called ‘Exchange for Change’, is expected to profit from unclaimed deposits and handling fees in order to offset the costs and volumes of the new scheme, according to Fairfax.
NSW environment minister Gabrielle Upton said the scheme would reduce litter in the state by 40% by 2020.
“This is the biggest initiative to tackle litter in the state’s history and it will make a massive difference to the amount of rubbish on our streets, parks and waterways right across NSW,” she said.
“It will also provide a fundraising opportunity for schools, community and sporting groups, which share in millions of dollars every year in places where similar schemes have been running for decades.”
The move to install Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) as a coordinator was met with outrage from NSW Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi, who said: “It is utterly stupid to put the fox in charge of the hen house.”
Ms Faruqi said the Greens and other environment groups had consistently called for an independent third party to run the scheme.
“Big beverage companies like Coca-Cola have no interest in reducing litter or increasing recycling rates and will only work to sabotage and undermine the scheme,” she said.
A spokesperson for CCA said the comments were unfair, and that more than half of the material used in new bottles was from recycled material, while the company also recycled around 62 per cent of the aluminium used for cans.
“We have an incentive to keep the scheme as cost-effective as possible,” the spokesperson said.
CCA also has a role in the coordination of the South Australian deposit scheme, which has been running for around 40 years.
The NSW scheme will result in a 20c price hike per container to cover the costs of the scheme, which includes the 10c refund available to purchasers.
With the price of a 24-pack of soft drink or alcoholic beverages expected to rise by $4.80, market analysts have flagged volume and earnings losses in line with a drop in demand, as a result of the increased price.
With Exchange for Change as Scheme Coordinator, TOMRA Collections Services was named Network Operator, in partnership with waste management company Cleanaway.
TOMRA president and chief executive Stefan Ranstrand said the company was proud to be the preferred partner for the “world class container deposit scheme in New South Wales”, which will allow it to provide technology and software for the scheme, including the installation of 800 reverse vending machines across NSW.
“We are very happy to enter into this partnership with Cleanaway, the leading waste management company in Australia,” he said.
“Our two companies are a great fit and together we are providing our core competencies into the role of network operator.
“New South Wales is the first state in Australia to implement a deposit scheme where large-scale, convenient automated solutions are being offered to the consumer. Engaging with the consumer to make recycling relevant and personal is the only way forward to make sure we are efficiently taking care of and reusing the world’s resources.
“A container deposit scheme is the best way to promote closed loop recycling and make sure we are addressing the major challenges we see today such as marine littering and wasted plastic in our natural environment.”
Most of the planned 500 collection points across NSW are expected to be in operation by December 2017, while remaining reverse vending machines will be installed by February 2018.