The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is trying to clear up any confusion about what sort of drink containers are eligible for the NSW container deposit scheme called Return and Earn.
Its advice follows Dubbo Regional Council’s plea to users of the Return and Earn reverse vending machine in Victoria Park not to dump containers not accepted by the machine at the site.
“Take them home and put them in kerbside recycling,” the council’s manager environmental control Debbie Archer said on January 5. “Just because they’re not accepted here doesn’t mean they’re not accepted at kerbside recycling. The aim of this is all about reducing litter.”
On Wednesday the EPA released a list of containers that are not accepted by the machines. They 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, wine and spirit glass bottles, casks for wine or water of one litre or more, sachets for wine of 250 millilitres (ml) or more, containers for cordials and concentrated fruit/vegetable juices, and registered health tonics.
The EPA reports of most drink containers between 150ml and three litres being eligible for depositing in the reverse vending mahines. They include glass, plastic, aluminium and steel containers and some cartons.
EPA acting chair and chief executive officer Mark Gifford said it was a good idea for people taking part in the scheme for the first time to check the list of eligible containers before heading out to their collection point. “The list of eligible containers has been created based on an analysis of the types of containers that are most often found in the litter stream, and it matches closely to other states with container deposit schemes in places like South Australia and the Northern Territory,” he said.
The EPA tells of more than 160 million drink containers becoming litter in NSW each year, with drink containers making up almost half the volume of total litter in the state. “As more people across NSW get on board with Return and Earn, or continue to recycle through their local council collections, we expect to see a significant reduction in the millions of containers that are tossed onto roadsides, parks and waterways each year,” Mr Gifford said.
A container returned to a reverse vending machine or over-the-counter collection point does not need to be in pristine condition but should be empty, uncrushed and have its label intact in order to be scanned and confirmed as eligible for the 10-cent return. The EPA reports of 324 collection points operating across the state with more being “rolled out every week”.