A container refund scheme in Tasmania would cost $239 million over 20 years to run, a report reveals.
The final report on a model framework for a container refund scheme prepared for the Environment Protection Authority found that of the $239 million cost, $138 million was for refunded deposits.
“Real costs of running the scheme are about $101 million or around four cents per eligible container,” it says.
The report, released by Environment Minister Elise Archer, makes 23 recommendations.
It argues the scheme should be run by a single co-ordinator and operator set up as a product stewardship organisation, overseen by a board of directors “that is representative of the industry but ensures access to relevant expertise.”
Ms Archer said a waste and recycling roundtable she convened with local government and industry had agreed that the scheme needed to be further examined.
She said a key outcome of the roundtable was an agreement to collaborate on the further development of an overarching state-wide strategy, a new waste action plan for Tasmania.
“This plan also has the potential to create jobs and investment opportunities,” Ms Archer said.
“We know there is no single solution to our waste and recycling challenges, and the government’s priority is on the development and implementation of an overarching waste action plan for Tasmania.
“It was agreed that to be effective in reducing waste and litter and increasing recycling and recovery, initiatives such as a container refund scheme – as well as the banning of particular types of waste streams like plastic bags and straws – must be considered in a much broader context, rather than in isolation.
“In this context, the Government will continue to consider the views of local government, industry, business and the community regarding a CRS and a range of other initiatives in developing the waste action plan.”
Local Government Association of Tasmania president Doug Chipman said a strategic state-wide approach, developed collaboratively between state and local government, was an important element in improving long-term waste outcomes in Tasmania.
“The impacts of China’s restrictions are being felt deeply by councils and the community’s interest in waste management in general has risen significantly,” Alderman Chipman said.
“We have five motions on waste at our upcoming LGAT general meeting and I look forward to collaborating with the State Government in addressing these issues.”
The report recommended if a container refund scheme was introduced in Tasmania it should be consistent with other schemes in Australia.
“The scheme should have litter reduction as its primary objective, with recycling of container material as a secondary objective,” it said.
“The container deposit should be set at a level that provides sufficient incentive to encourage redemption.
“It is desirable that the deposit amount in Tasmania aligns with the deposit amount elsewhere in Australia, both now and in the future.
“At present this is 10 cents per eligible container. However, there is some doubt as to whether this amount provides a sufficient incentive to promote high redemption rates. Further, the value of this incentive can be expected to erode over time.”