Since the commencement of the scheme in December 2017, NSW communities and businesses have returned over seven billion containers.
The New South Wales (NSW) government announced that the TOMRA Cleanaway joint venture will continue in the role of Network Operator for its Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), ‘Return and Earn’ for another four years, ending in late 2026. Minister for Environment James Griffin called the scheme “one of the most successful and trusted recycling initiatives Australia has seen.”
Cleanaway CEO and Managing Director, Mark Schubert welcomed the announcement, “Cleanaway is proud to play a key role in delivering this enormously successful scheme. Our refreshed Blueprint 2030 strategy centres around delivering sustainable customer solutions and making a sustainable future possible together. We are pleased to be able to continue to deliver an efficient CDS Network Operator service to the NSW community through our joint venture partnership with TOMRA. We look forward to driving even higher recovery rates and greater community access to the scheme in the future.”
Under the extension agreement, TOMRA Cleanaway continues to be responsible for the NSW Container Deposit Scheme network of return points, including Reverse Vending Machines, over-the-counter drop offs and automated depots. The joint venture will also be responsible for recycling collected containers and ensuring this material is sent to appropriate destinations, such as the Circular Plastics Australia facility in Albury.
Circular Plastics Australia is a joint venture with Cleanaway, PACT, Asahi Beverages and Coca Cola Europacific Partners. The PET plastic pelletising facility by the venture turns used PET containers into recycled PET pellets that can be used to make new packaging. The NSW CDS provides a significant portion of the feedstock for this circular economy solution.
TOMRA Cleanaway has also committed to greater community access to ‘Return and Earn’ by increasing the number of collection points across NSW.
TOMRA Cleanaway CEO James Dorney said he looks forward to continuing working with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the scheme coordinator Exchange for Change.
“Working with our partners, we look forward to building upon the incredible successes of the scheme to date and the positive environmental, charity and community outcomes delivered as part of the circular economy in NSW,” Mr Dorney said.
Pictured: TOMRA Cleanaway board representatives and CEO James Dorney
Since the commencement of the scheme in December 2017, NSW communities and businesses have returned over seven billion containers and significantly improved resource recovery and recycling rates across the state.
Before NSW introduced the ‘Return and Earn’ scheme, more than 160 million drink containers littered our streets, beaches, waterways, and parks. Drink container litter made up 44 per cent of the volume of litter in the state and cost more than $162 million a year to manage.
Pictured: A Return and Earn Reverse Vending Machine (RVM)
The renewal and expansion of the contract isn’t just good news for the environment, it’s also good news for charities, with more than $30 million raised for charities and community groups via donations and fees since the scheme commenced.
St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO Jack de Groot said through the partnership they’ve developed a valuable new income stream to support their work.
“It started out with over-the-counter collections in Vinnies Shops across Western Sydney and the Illawarra,” Mr de Groot said.