What is a Container Refund Scheme?
A Container Refund Scheme (CRS) allows people to recycle their beverage containers in return for a 10c refund. It is an initiative to reduce litter and increase recycling. Tasmania’s CRS is due to start in 2022.
What is the purpose of a Container Refund Scheme?
There are two key objectives for the Container Refund Scheme in Tasmania: to reduce litter and increase recycling.
What do I have to do?
When the Scheme starts in 2022, you can take an empty beverage container that is eligible for the refund, to a designated Refund Point. These will be located right around Tasmania, for example in supermarkets, shopping centres and at local retail shops.
The details of the refund payment method will be finalised soon. Schemes in other states use cash refunds, refunds directly to credit card, debit card, bank deposit or PayPal account, vouchers for participating retailers, and donations directly to a charity of choice.
What will the refund amounts be?
The Container Refund Scheme will see a refund of 10 cents for all eligible empty drink containers returned to designated Refund Points across Tasmania. This is consistent with other States.
Which containers are included?
We are finalising which containers will be part of the CRS. Like other Schemes, ours will focus on beverage containers that most commonly contribute to litter. It’s likely that containers eligible for the Scheme will be similar to other States’.
For example, eligible containers are typically those that are between 150ml and three litres, cans (e.g. soft drink and beer), bottles (both glass and PET), cartons (e.g. flavoured milk), juice boxes or poppers. Ineligible containers include regular milk containers, glass wine bottles, glass spirit bottles, juice bottles over one litre and cordial bottles.
Can I start collecting now?
The Scheme won’t commence until 2022. Once the Scheme has started, you can begin collecting your beverage containers and take them to a Refund Point. In the meantime, we encourage consumers not to ‘stockpile’ containers and to continue to recycle as normal in their yellow lidded kerbside bin, or public recycling bins, until the Scheme starts.
How will the Container Refund Scheme benefit community groups and charities?
Charities and community organisations can earn money by either having donations directed their way, by operating within the Scheme as a Refund Point or simply by having containers donated to their organisation, enabling them to redeem the 10 cents.
What are Refund Points and where will they be?
To ensure that everyone can access the Scheme no matter where they are in the state, there will be a range of Refund Points available across Tasmania. These will be as convenient as possible to result in higher collection rates. We expect to see everything from large depot collection points and reverse vending machines in the major population centres, to over-the-counter Refund Points in small businesses and collection points run by local clubs and charities in smaller regional communities.
When will the Container Refund Scheme start?
The Scheme is due to start in 2022. This is a complex Scheme and a number of important elements must be set up, which will take time. This includes establishing a network of state-wide Container Refund Points, and administrative arrangements with beverage suppliers.
What is a split-responsibility model and how does it work?
The Tasmanian Government has selected a split-responsibility governance model for the CRS. Split-responsibility means that the Scheme Coordinator will run the administration and finance for the Scheme and the Network Operator manages the network of Refund Points across Tasmania. The Scheme Coordinator and Network Operator will be appointed through a competitive public tender process. The split responsibility model is already operating in New South Wales and the ACT and currently being developed in Victoria.
What kind of jobs will the Scheme create?
The recycling industry is worth billions of dollars to the Australian economy, and creates far more jobs than if we were to send that recyclable material to landfill. In other states, hundreds of new, sustainable jobs have been created through the development of Container Refund Schemes. There will be jobs created in Tasmania as well. For example, contracts will be made with a Scheme Coordinator to run the finance and administration of the Scheme, and a Network Operator to run the network of Container Refund Points. Other businesses can be engaged by applying to be a Refund Point, and there will be opportunities for local logistics. We also anticipate that jobs in the reuse and recycling industry will increase because there will be more materials recovered.
Who will pay for the Container Refund Scheme?
The beverage industry will fund the Scheme, as it does in all mainland Schemes. This aligns with the idea of ‘product stewardship’: whoever sells a product takes responsibility for minimising its environmental impact.
Will the cost of beverages go up?
It is expected that that prices will initially rise by less than 10 cents per drink container when the CRS starts, but if you take your containers back to a Refund Point, or collect litter, you’ll receive 10 cents for every container.
What about if I put the container in my yellow bin, do I get a refund?
No, people will only get a refund for drink containers returned to designated Refund Points.
How will you make sure these containers are recycled and not sent to landfill?
This Scheme is all about recycling drink containers, not leaving them in the environment or in landfill. The legislation will stipulate that all containers collected under the Scheme must be recycled. There will be regular compliance audits to ensure containers aren’t being sent to landfill.
The containers are collected from Container Refund Points by the Network Operator and are taken to a sorting and processing facility. Here, beverage containers are sorted into types (glass, plastic, aluminum) and prepared to be processed for recycling and reuse.
How can businesses be involved?
Businesses – both small and large - can apply to operate a Refund Point. Hospitality businesses can collect and return containers, to claim the refund. There will also be opportunities for logistics and transport services.
I’ve heard the cost of a slab of beer will go up by $10, is this true?
No. Independent reviews of the first year of the Queensland and NSW CRSs found that price increases were less than 10 cents per drink container, so less than $2.40 for a slab. The Marsden Jacob report on a Tasmanian Container Refund Scheme found containers would increase by just under 10 cents in the first year of the Scheme, rising to 11 cents per container after six years. That’s an increase of $2.64 for a slab – and the consumer gets $2.40 back for returning their containers. There are six Container Refund Schemes operating in Australia, and nowhere has a slab of beer increased by $10.
The hospitality industry has been hit significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic – how can the Government justify implementing a Container Refund Scheme as the industry recovers?
We’ve been working closely with the hospitality industry. The Tasmanian Hospitality Association sits on the CRS Expert Reference Group, which is meeting throughout 2021 to discuss the Scheme’s operational details. The Scheme can benefit Tasmania’s hospitality industry. With tourists coming here for our natural scenery and pristine environment, participating in a Scheme to reduce litter will protect and boost Tasmania’s brand. Currently, litter is a problem along some Tasmanian roadsides, and beverage containers make up a large proportion of this. Reducing this litter will enhance the state’s tourism and hospitality appeal.
Why are some drink containers not included in the Container Refund Scheme, such as wine and milk bottles?
The idea behind the Scheme is to reduce litter. Typically, beverage containers that make up litter are from drinks that are consumed away from home, which generally doesn’t include milk and wine bottles. Tasmania is actively engaging in discussions with other states about how the scope of eligible containers may expand over time.