Local MPs Sophie Cotsis, Jodi McKay and Jo Haylen, have condemned the Minister for the Environment’s roll-out of the Return and Earn container deposit scheme, with the Minister’s own figures showing there will be fewer than half the promised number of collection points up and running by the start of the scheme this Friday.
As part of the scheme the price of cans and bottles will rise by approximately 10 cents. Consumers then return the cans for a 10 cent refund.
The roll out of the scheme has become a disaster with Ms Upton promising that there would be 800 reverse vending machines across 500 collection points for the scheme. Today’s figures show it is just 45 reverse vending machines across 237 collection points with no timetable for the rest of the roll out.
While a handful of over-the counter return points can be found in the Summer Hill, Strathfield and Canterbury electorates, there are no reverse vending machines as was promised.
Under sustained questioning in the Parliament, the Minister was unable to provide details of other planned locations.
Minister Upton promised that 85 per cent of more than 500 collection sites would up and running by 1 December – but this has since been downgraded to suggest that only ‘a majority’ of collection points may be in place by the start date.
Background: The Container Deposit Scheme in NSW is called ‘Return and Earn’ and aims to help reduce litter in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020. The EPA estimates that around 300 million containers a month will be recovered by the scheme which entitles consumers to a 10 cent refund on every returned can or bottle. Containers make up 44 per cent of all litter in NSW.
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen MP:
“When I directly asked the Environment Minister in Question Time about the whereabouts of the 500 Return and Earn collection points, she simply had no answer.
“Now we know there will be only a small number of over the counter return points in the inner west and no reverse vending machines.
“This is a broken promise to the community organisations and P&C’s who are ready to get fundraising, and to all those inner west residents who want to stand up for the environment. Doing our bit for the environment shouldn’t be this hard!”
Quotes attributable to Member for Canterbury, Sophie Cotsis MP:
“My constituents took the Minister at her word that this program would be up and running by December 1st. That has clearly not happened.
“I know just how eager residents are to see our local waterways, parks and streets free from choking litter. They deserve better than the botched roll-out of this program that we have seen.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Strathfield, Jodi McKay MP:
“Minister Upton has managed to turn a positive idea into a complete farce. People are knocking down my door asking for information about returning their containers because they can’t get anything out of this clueless government.
“My community just wants to know – where can I take my cans and bottles for a refund?”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe MLC:
“Minister Upton had one job which was to launch a scheme that can help reduce litter and enable consumers to recoup the cost – and she has failed miserably.
“Labor is a strong supporter of this scheme but the Minister has completely botched the rollout. Businesses, bottlers and the public will have to pay the price for this Government’s incompetence.”