On 29 July 2017, the Minister for the Environment, Gabrielle Upton announced Exchange for Change and TOMRA-Cleanaway had been appointed to run NSW's new Container Deposit Scheme (CDS).
Under the scheme, the Exchange for Change, a joint venture of beverage suppliers, will act as scheme coordinator. The scheme coordinator will be responsible for the financial management of the scheme. This also includes making payments to Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) operators.
TOMRA, a global sensor based solutions provider and Cleanaway, a national waste management company, will act in partnership as network operator. In an interesting move, the NSW Government has appointed a single network operator to oversee the entire system. The network operator will be responsible for setting up the scheme and managing collection points across NSW. The rollout of collection points will be a complex endeavour, particularly where those collection points will require development consent due to size or location.
The CDS, due to commence 1 December 2017, will provide refunds of 10 cents in exchange for bottles and cans. It has been left to Councils and MRFs to negotiate the sharing of refunds on containers recycled from municipal kerbside collections.
Preparing for the CDS
To prepare for the introduction of the CDS:
- MRFs should undertake audits/stocktakes and consider possible cost increases;
- Councils should commence data gathering (eg by carrying out audits of kerbside collection waste streams); and
- Councils and MRFs face significant negotiations ahead – they should commence discussions on the sharing of refunds now.