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Vic councils support introduction of a CDS to fix “broken” system

Councils across Victoria are urging the Victorian government to introduce a container deposit scheme (CDS), as it is the only state without a current scheme or planned scheme.

South Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland all have schemes – with Western Australia and Tasmania following suit in 2020 and 2022, respectively.

Now, councils such as the City of Melbourne and the City of Frankston, are calling for Victoria to take action to fix a “broken” recycling system.

The City of Melbourne Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, said a CDS would reduce plastic and glass being sent to landfill.

“The recycling system is broken and we need to harness community and industry support to fix it.

“It’s time to provide an incentive for people who collect bottles and cans and give back to the community,” Capp said.

The City of Darebin and the City of Port Phillip are also among councils calling for the Victorian government to introduce container deposit legislation into parliament.

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Cathy Oke, said South Australia first introduced their scheme in 1977, which lead the nation on waste management.

“Introducing a similar scheme in Victoria would help reduce litter while providing a commodity that could be used by our local industry,” she said.

The scheme could include manually operated or automated reverse vending machines that would give credit for each item deposited.

“Victorians are looking for answers to the waste crisis so it’s time we helped people do their bit to help create a stronger recycling sector.

“Along with reducing litter, the scheme would ensure the beverage supplier industry takes greater responsibility for packaging, and rewards individuals, community groups, sporting clubs and charities for picking up littered beverage containers,” Oke said.

Following SKM Recycling’s decision to no longer accept our recyclable materials, the City of Melbourne is sending 45 tonnes of recycling to landfill each day. SKM sorts 50 per cent of Victoria’s kerbside recycling – close to 300,000 tonnes a year.

SKM’s decision affects 33 Melbourne councils it holds contracts with as well as other recycling service providers.

In late July, SKM told councils it would not accept material at any of its sites because of its inability to process glass at its GRS glass facility.

In order to offer support, the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG) has been in daily contact with affected councils, state government, the Municipal Association of Victoria and other recycling service providers to assess their capacity to take extra recyclables, and divert as much as safely possible away from landfill.