Exchange for Change (EFC), a company formed through a consortium of leading beverage suppliers, has been awarded the NSW Government tender to coordinate the state’s new Container Deposit Scheme (CDS).
With a start date of 1 December 2017 already set for the CDS, EFC Project Director, Jeff Maguire, said the beverages industry would be able to mobilise quickly in order to implement the scheme.
“This is a great opportunity for us to work with the community to help achieve the Government’s goal of reducing litter and increasing recycling,” Maguire said.
“We look forward to supporting a well-run, effective container deposit scheme for NSW.”
“As Scheme Coordinator we will work closely with Government to get the scheme up and running, and give the public an even greater incentive to recycle bottles and cans.”
The appointment of EFC did draw some criticism from the NSW Greens, with the party’s Environment spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, saying “Big beverage companies like Coca-Cola have no interest in reducing litter or increasing recycling rates and will only work to sabotage and undermine the scheme.”
However those claims have been dismissed by EFC, with a spokesperson for the company telling TheShout: “Exchange for Change is in favour of a well-run and cost effective CDS. Any statement otherwise is unfair and untrue.
“Industry has played a key role in the management of the South Australian system for more than 40 years and offers unique experience in support of NSW’s scheme.”
The Executive Director of the Liquor Stores Association New South Wales, Michael Waters, also dismissed Dr Faruqi’s comments and welcomed the Government’s decision to award the coordinator contract to EFC.
“Despite the expected lament from the NSW Greens and the resulting media attention, the LSA believes this is a positive outcome for the liquor industry, as an ‘industry-run CDS coordinator’ is the only stakeholder motivated to ensure both effectiveness and cost-efficiency,” Waters said.
“In this context, and given their experience, expertise, capability and commitment, we believe the Exchange for Change consortia are best placed to deliver the CDS and achieve Government’s objectives of: (one) recognising the responsibility that the beverage industry shares with the community for reducing and dealing with waste generated by beverage product packaging; and (two) establishing a cost effective state-wide CDS to assist the beverage industry to discharge that responsibility and to promote the recovery, reuse and recycling of empty containers.”
As the CDS Coordinator, EFC will oversee the management of the scheme for the NSW Environment Protection Authority, with responsibility for ensuring the efficient flow of funds from the deposits collected by beverage suppliers back to consumers, via the network operator, when they return their containers to collection points.
Jeff Maguire said members of Exchange for Change have significant experience in the recycling and container deposit sectors, with many involved in operating the existing South Australian Scheme that has processed hundreds of millions of containers over its 40 years of operation.
NSW beverage manufacturers are also major re-users of recycled material.
“We recognise the importance of playing a major role in recycling our own bottles and cans,” Maguire said.
“For example, in some leading brands up to 50 per cent of the material in PET bottles, and up to 62 per cent of the material in aluminium cans, is recycled.
“This means that the members of Exchange for Change are involved along the entire recycling chain – as we should be.”
The NSW Government will also appoint a Network Operator for the scheme, which will run the collection points across the state and Maguire also said that EFC will set up an industry-wide briefing in the coming weeks.