NSW residents and community groups will be eligible for 10c refunds on eligible drink containers.
NSW residents and community groups will be eligible for 10c refunds on eligible drink containers. Rachel Lang

NSW gets canny with can and bottle recycling

LEGISLATION introducing a 10c refund for recycled cans and bottles is finally before the NSW Parliament ahead of the scheme's July 2017 start date.

South Australia has had refunds in place since 1977 and boasts an 80% return rate, with environmental group Planet Ark saying more than $60 million a year was raised by charities and community groups that collected containers.

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said drink containers made up one in every three pieces of litter and the scheme would go a long way towards the government's goal of reducing litter by 40% by 2020.

He added almost 160 million drink containers were discarded as litter in 2014-15.

"This is the largest litter reduction initiative ever undertaken in NSW and introduces financial incentives for people to recycle waste," he said.

"It is terrific news for regional residents because in the bush we take exceptional pride in the cleanliness of our towns and public spaces.

"At the same time, the container deposit scheme could offer a useful source of revenue to volunteer groups and small charities in our local communities, and to me that's a triple-win for us all."

The NSW deposit program will force beverage suppliers to cover refund costs for eligible containers between 150ml and three litres.

Plain milk bottles and cartons and wine bottles will be ineligible for refunds because they typically do not end up as litter.

Others include pure fruit juice (more than one litre), health tonics and large flavoured milk containers.

All sides of politics support the scheme but drink manufacturers are concerned it will hurt their bottom line.

Coca-Cola Amatil told investors in May, when the law was in its drafting stage, Queensland and the ACT had "both previously indicated their interest in developing a scheme similar to or aligned with NSW".