NSW looks to drink container deposit scheme to cut littering

The NSW government is set to introduce a rebate of around 10 cents for returned drink containers in an effort to reduce litter in the state.

The SMH reports that Premier Mike Baird wrote to beverage manufacturers last week and invited them to join the government in its efforts to improve recycling rates.

The scheme is likely to involve the introduction of reverse vending machines which accept cans and bottles in exchange for a small refund. They would be capable of handling about 3000 items each and would be paced in public areas for the benefit of the public.

As the ABC reports, Environment Minister Rob Stokes said similar schemes have been successfully introduced in other jurisdictions.

"The beverage industry obviously has a responsibility in terms of the extent of producer liability for their products," Stokes said.

"But we recognise that Government has a strong leadership role to play," he said.

"What we are interested in doing is working together effectively to produce solutions to a shared problem, which is litter and waste in our environment."

Under the proposal, beverage companies would be able to increase prices by the amount of the deposit and would only have to pay it on returned containers.

Nevertheless, as the SMH reports, the industry opposes the idea on the grounds that it would result in job losses.

The industry proposed to spend $33.5 million on an alternative national 10 year plan which would include an advertising campaign and the introduction of more recycling bins, but no deposit.

However, the government favours container deposit scheme and is waiting to see a new proposal from the industry.

Stokes said he was not concerned by the possibility that the beverage industry could campaign against the government at the next election because of the anti-littering scheme.