Why a container deposit scheme
The Return and Earn container deposit scheme is a litter initiative by the NSW Government, contributing to its target of a 40% reduction in litter across the state by 2020.
Container deposit schemes reduce litter by giving an extra incentive to return empty drink containers, so fewer end up in our streets, beaches and national parks. Drink containers currently make up 44% of the volume of all litter in NSW. Returning bottles and cans makes our state cleaner and more livable.
Fewer containers littered on land also reduces the number of containers that wash into our waterways and ocean, where they can harm marine life and impact food chains. With the current growth of marine litter worldwide, the amount of plastic in the ocean is set to weigh more than the amount of fish by 2050. With Return and Earn, NSW does its bit to reduce marine litter and help our wildlife.
Increasing reuse of container materials
By collecting drink containers separately, away from other kinds of waste or recyclable materials, the bottles and cans stay free of contamination. This means the containers can be kept sufficiently clean to be turned back into new drink containers, and recycled multiple times.
By staying clean enough for bottle-to-bottle recycling, our drink containers avoid going to the tip, where space is limited – and where it takes 450 years for plastic to break down, and one million years for glass to break down.
The Cleanest Loop
The materials from empty drink containers can be used again and again to make new containers, in a continuous loop: less container materials leave the loop to become litter, and less raw materials need to enter the loop to make new containers. At TOMRA, we call this closed-loop recycling the “Cleanest Loop”.