The Associate Minister for the Environment says a drink container refund scheme similar to those operating overseas could soon a reality, if cabinet wants one.
In a statement today, Eugenie Sage laid out a proposed new system of waste minimisation, the larger part of which consists of "product stewardship" becoming mandatory, rather than voluntary, for a number of a consumer goods.
This means the people selling the product would be forced to be more responsible for their waste minisation, recovery and recycling.
The products included, which are now being consulted on, are:
- packaging, including beverage containers and plastic packaging
- electrical and electronic products (e-waste), starting with lithium-ion
- refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases
- agrichemicals and their containers and other farm plastics
The statement also said that a bottle or can refund scheme is moving a step closer to reality, as the proposal sets out a framework to "design options" for such a scheme, subject to consultation and cabinet approval.
"Co-design of a potential container refund/deposit scheme is part of the proposal for stage 2, once beverage containers are declared a priority product," the statement said.
"Well-designed product stewardship schemes ensure that those making, selling and using products all help take responsibility to recover the materials and avoid them ending up in landfills," Ms Sage said.
"Regulated product stewardship helps puts the responsibility for effective material and waste management on product manufacturers, importers, retailers and users, rather than on communities, councils, neighbourhoods and nature."
Ms Sage said that before any regulations are passed, the costs and benefits will be fully spelled out and consulted on.
A container deposit scheme is currently being operated in Australia in all states except one - Victoria has no scheme and no plans to implement a scheme.
Members of the public can have their say on the proposals here.