The ACT commenced the new (financial) year with a new container deposit scheme (I note that there is an existing thread about the failings of the NSW scheme). My wife and I have been saving our bottles for about six (6) weeks, in anticipation of handing them in for our 10c here and 10c there.
- There are nine (9) deposit centres. Only two (2) of these are designated ‘bulk depots’, and will give cash back immediately for bottles. Those two are located in the industrial precincts - well out of the way of most Canberrans.
- Unless one goes to one of the two bulk depots, one has to enter one’s personal details - including bank account for the refund - in a private company’s website. (Of course it’s outsourced - why should I be surprised?)
- When one starts to read the fine print, one learns that it is not so fine if you go to one of the seven (7) relatively easily accessible depots:
3.1. One may only return bottles in ‘lightweight transparent bags’. (Actually, another area of the scheme describes them as ‘durable translucent bags, like the regular kitchen tidy bags you can buy from the shops’. Seriously, you have to buy and use plastic bags in a recycling program?)
3.2. Each bag must get a sticker, produced at the return depot by a ‘kiosk’.
3.3. One may return only four (4) bags full of bottles on any one day.
3.4. The bag must be clear so the contents are visible.
In summary, the bottles we have collected are going into our recycling bin - this scheme is more effort than it is worth.
My memory of the South Australian scheme - which has been in place since 1977 - is that one could return bottles to most shops (it appears that the scheme has shrunk somewhat since its hey-day); I am surprised and somewhat disgusted that local supermarkets are not similarly given the responsibility to deal with this relatively small amount of recyclable waste.
The ACT model is clearly designed to cause no difficulties at all for retailers, placing all onus on the participating charities and the public. I will be unsurprised when it is declared a failure within a couple of years, and we see bottles once more thriving in the wild.