Why the Voluntary Programmes make Container Deposit System unnecessary
Households in New Zealand produce significant amounts of waste, some of which is recycled via kerbside collection schemes or drop off recycling programmes. A number of countries operate container deposit schemes (CDSs) that can deliver high rates of recycling for beverage containers, e.g. an estimated return rate of around 80% in South Australia 1 compared with a 73% rate for glass and an estimated return rate of 69% for all beverage containers via kerbside recycling in New Zealand.
The NSW Government, in its Discussion Paper3, states “In general, consumers cover the cost of the scheme in the price of the drink when purchasing it. In this regard,CDSs are based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle, shifting waste management and litter collection costs away from local councils and land managers and on to consumers.”
In 2008 Covec analysed the costs and benefits of a CDS in New Zealand and suggested that it would yield net costs to New Zealand 4 of $75 million. This is because of the high additional costs for infrastructure and household costs for returns, spread across the benefits from a small potential increase in recycling rate above that achieved with kerbside schemes. In 2016 Covec has updated that analysis using recent data including taking account of new cost benefit analyses (CBAs) conducted in Australia.
This summary report provides an overview of the costs and benefits associated with the introduction of a container deposit system.