In February 2015, the NSW Premier set a target to reduce the volume of litter in NSW by 40% by 2020. The Premier also made an election commitment to investigate the introduction of a beverage container deposit scheme (CDS) in New South Wales (NSW). The Premier’s Priority for ‘Keeping our environment clean’ by reducing the volume of litter in NSW by 40% by 2020 is one of 12 Premier’s Priorities and 18 State Priorities for NSW.
The NSW Government undertook extensive consultation and analysis on a range of options to achieve the policy objective. The consultation included two discussion papers, a range of community forums, policy advice provided by independent consultants and advice from an advisory committee. The CDS design has benefited from the feedback received during this consultation and the submissions confirmed that NSW residents are concerned that littering is a very important issue facing NSW. For instance, a 2016 survey identified that ‘86% of us think littering is a very important issue facing NSW’.
As a result of this work, the NSW Government has found that a CDS is an appropriate strategy to achieve the litter target. Notably it was the only litter reduction mechanism identified that would achieve the target, because it positively incentivises behaviour change.
As a result of this process, the NSW Parliament passed amendments to the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2001 (NSW) (WARR Act) in October 2016 to establish the CDS and the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Regulation 2017 was published in March 2017. It is intended that the CDS will commence operation on 1 December 2017. NSW has designed the CDS to be low cost and to align with existing schemes in the Northern Territory and South Australia as well as proposed schemes in Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. The proposed CDS has been assessed to deliver a net benefit to the NSW economy and will have negligible impacts outside the state.