Tasmanians could soon join most of the nation in establishing a Container Deposit Scheme to improve community recycling.
In Thursday’s state budget the government allocated $100,000 to modelling how a scheme could work.
Most Australian states and territories, with the exception of Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, pay 10 cents for each drink container recycled.
Now the Tasmanian Government has allocated funding to investigate how a similar model could work.
Environment and Parks Minister Matthew Groom said the money would be used to determine what regulatory change was required and what roles industry, community groups and local government could play.
“We recognise that a well-designed Container Deposit Scheme has the potential to deliver significant positive outcomes for the community in dealing with the issue of litter and waste,” he said.
In 2013 a Local Government Association of Tasmania report found councils could save $1.3 million each year, through reduced kerbside collection and processing, if a Container Deposit Scheme was established.
“That advice and the report was provided to the then state government which commenced its own study in 2014,” association president Doug Chipman said.
That 2014 report, commissioned by the state’s Environmental Protection Agency, found a state-based container deposit scheme would reduce litter at an annual cost of about $4 million.
After the report, the introduction of a Container Deposit Scheme was rejected by the Hodgman Government due to its cost.
But the latest investigation into the viability of a paid recycling scheme has been welcomed by Mr Chipman.
“While some of the data and assumptions will need rechecking in relation to viability and impact, given time passed, we welcome the commitment of funds to further progress this work,” he said.
“This is intended to be progressed in collaboration with local government, to ensure the right model to deliver the best overall waste outcomes.
“We fully support this partnership.”
According to its EPA, South Australia leads the nation in the recovery, recycling and litter reduction of beverage containers, with an overall return rate of 76.5 per cent.
In 2015–2016, more than 582 million containers were recovered by collection depots for recycling, representing a $58 million refund to the community.
In January the Tasmania branch of Keep Australia Beautiful raised questions about the viability of a Container Deposit Scheme and its effect on household recycling.