South Australia has announced trials of ‘reverse vending machines’ (RVM), where can and bottle collectors can put their cans and bottles into a ‘hole in the wall’ for a return of their 10c deposit.
RVMs are common in European countries, Canada and some states in the USA.
The technology is similar to retail banking ATMs, but the RVM identifies, sorts and pays deposits on cans, bottles and cartons covered by container deposit legislation.
Over 1200 different types of container deposit beverage containers have been pre-scanned to be accepted by the RVM.
For a long time now South Australians have supported deposits on beverage containers and the State processes over 540 million containers every year – the most in Australia. John Phillips, Keep SA Beautiful, says
“Our target of zero waste in South Australia is leading the nation, and combined with new technology and community support, we proportionately save more finite resources and divert more waste from landfill than any other State or Territory..
CDL has been successful in reducing litter in South Australia and following raising the deposit from 5c to 10c we have seen increased recycling levels that are the envy of the nation..
Community recyclers choosing to use the RVM will be assisted through the process of placing items into the ‘hole in the wall’ and collecting their payment during the trial period.”
The day-to-day management of waste is primarily the responsibility of the state, territory and local governments.
Since April 2008 the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) has been investigating alternative mechanisms for increasing the recycling of packaging and decreasing litter, including container deposit legislation, and the community’s willingness to pay for improved packaging recycling and reduced litter.
In March 2010, after considering the results of an investigation into these options (available at: www.ephc.gov.au/news) a Senate committee looking at the Beverage Container Deposit and Recovery Scheme 2009, recommended that
“(i) The EPHC advance its analysis of container deposit schemes without delay, ensuring that any further modelling draws on data derived from existing container deposit schemes and includes consideration of the model outlined in this bill..
(ii) The bill not be passed at this time.”
The Government has responded saying it is:
“Committed to working through the EPHC to develop an evidence base on which to make a decision regarding further work to address the community’s desire to recycle more packaging and reduce litter. Should the EPHC decide to proceed with further work, existing container deposit schemes, and the model outlined in this bill will be taken into account..
The Australian Government agrees that there is currently insufficient evidence to assess the merits of the proposed container deposit legislation and that a decision to implement such a scheme would not be appropriate at this time.”
Wonder if overseas experiences have been investigated?