First fine issued under new WARR Act legislation

A drink importer that repeatedly failed to comply with NSW packaging legislation requirements is the first NSW business to be fined under the rules that govern the NSW Container Deposit Scheme, Return and Earn.

Return and Earn has been incredibly popular with the community since it started in December 2017, with 7 billion containers collected and aims to ensure that the beverage industry takes responsibility for the reduction and management of drink packaging waste.

Golden Seasons International Trading Pty Ltd was fined $9000 in April for supplying drink containers that did not include the 10c refund mark for consumers, had not been approved by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), and were not subject to a supply arrangement with Exchange for Change as required under Part 5 of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (WARR) Act.

The refund marking, ‘10c refund at collection depots/points in participating State/Territory of purchase’, is a requirement that came into force in December 2019, two years after the commencement of Return and Earn.

EPA Container Deposit Scheme Director Alex Young said the Authority had contacted Golden Seasons International on multiple occasions about their obligations under the Container Deposit Scheme.

“This included a formal warning letter and a show cause letter,” he said.

“Golden Seasons International has made no effort to comply with their Container Deposit Scheme obligations under the WARR Act.

“The non-compliance has been ongoing, done knowingly and they have not responded to any attempts by the EPA to assist with education.

“Suppliers that do not enter a supply arrangement do not pay scheme costs, which reduces the funds available for the payment of the 10c refund to the community and operation of Return and Earn.

“Failure to comply with the container approval requirement can result in containers not being accepted for the 10c refund at return points, as well as non-recyclable beverage packaging entering the market.

“The refund marking on drink packaging lets consumers know which containers can be redeemed for a refund.

“Without this labelling, drink containers are more likely to be littered or disposed of inappropriately.”

Penalty notices are one of the tools the EPA uses to achieve the best environmental or human health outcomes.

Our regulatory approach includes a wide variety of options. Find out more about them here