CDS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to kickstart WA circular economy

15 March 2019

The Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR), has today welcomed the passage of legislation that will enable a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) to be introduced in Western Australia, acknowledging that the scheme has the potential to deliver huge environmental and social benefits to the people of Western Australia.

“We know from experience that Container Deposit Schemes are a highly effective way to increase collection of beverage containers and reduce litter,” WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, said.

“However, we have so far missed the opportunity to require beverage containers registered under the scheme to include recycled content, which would have meant a genuine product stewardship scheme in WA. “

As WA finalises the design of its CDS, Ms Sloan encouraged the State Government to take advantage of the lessons learned across the other Australian States.

“It’s important that the WA CDS is specifically designed to work for WA, delivering an effective and efficient scheme for all Western Australians. We have a perfect opportunity here to take the best learnings from other schemes, while avoiding many of the challenges we have seen unfold,” Ms Sloan said.

The CDS also presents WA a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to roll out state-wide infrastructure that could become the backbone of taking back and recycling a broader range of materials, including batteries, e-waste and other materials into the future, as well as creating local state-of-the-art recycling and sorting capacity to produce raw materials for local remanufacturing industries, ultimately helping WA transition to a circular economy.

For the WA CDS to have the best chance at success, accessibility is key, and the State’s large land mass should not be deemed an impossible challenge considering beverages are already being transported to the far reaches of the State.

“The Government must ensure convenient, accessible and reliable collection points across the entire State to make it easy for people to recover their deposits - the most expensive scheme is one where the public cannot claim their 10 cents,” Ms Sloan said.

“A carefully and deliberately designed collection network is required to create transport efficiencies and enable extensive coverage, so that regional WA is able to fully participate in the CDS. The last thing we want is a similar outcome in Queensland where collection points are opening 80 metres from one another while there are none in whole regions of Far North Queensland.

“Government must also ensure adequate time is spent on delivering frontline services to the community as the measure of the scheme’s success will, in large part, come down to the level of accessibility on day one.”

WMRR is also urging the Government to ensure that an independent Board, one that does not work in the interest of any particular group but in the interest of the broader community, is set up well ahead of the scheme’s commencement.

“The WA Government is certainly to be congratulated for passing this legislation. The real test now is whether the scheme is designed to deliver the best outcomes for the community, or if its design will be compromised by vested interests.”