Efficiency and Environmental Impact of State-Backed Recycling Initiative Questioned Amid Temporary Diesel Generator Use
Beginning November 1, 2023, the State Government initiated a Container Deposit Scheme, offering residents the opportunity to exchange eligible drink containers for a mere 10 cents at designated Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs). While the initiative aims to promote recycling and reduce litter, it has raised concerns regarding its efficiency and the ambiguity surrounding its environmental impact.
Under the scheme, individuals can deposit their drink containers into RVMs, which, in return, issue a voucher for use at Woolworths or offer a cash transfer into the depositor’s bank account. Alternatively, the deposit can be donated to a charity or not-for-profit organization. RVMs are scattered across Victoria, with one located at the Civic Centre, and information on additional locations can be found on the Tomra website.
CDS VIC, short for the Victorian Container Deposit Scheme, has been launched in collaboration with Cleanaway, designating them as the Network Operators. The RVMs have, however, raised eyebrows due to their reliance on diesel-operated generators for power. A sign on the generator in Wyndham claims that it is a temporary measure, yet no specific end date is mentioned, leading some residents to question its true environmental impact. One resident questioned the environmental consciousness of the scheme, stating, “I love the wokeness!!! Please note the diesel generator behind the box, like most of these set-ups!!! What genius! Save the environment by running a diesel generator 24/7!!!”
The Container Deposit Scheme aims to establish return points in Western Regional Victoria and Western Metropolitan Melbourne, bringing world-class recycling infrastructure to Victorian recyclers. The scheme is operated by TOMRA Collection, a global leader in automated technology for bottle and can recycling, with a focus on keeping valuable resources in a continuous loop of use and reuse.
Tomra Collection’s mission is rooted in the belief that a healthy environment can be achieved by optimizing the use and re-use of materials and resources, minimizing waste. The company claims to collect and recycle more than 40 billion cans and bottles worldwide each year, all while developing innovative technology for a more sustainable and efficient recyclable future.
Nonetheless, some residents have expressed scepticism about the scheme’s practicality. One resident voiced their concerns, saying, “But yesterday a bottle of drink was $3, and today it is $3.15. So yesterday you put your empty bottle in the recycling bin, and it got collected. Today, if you want 10c out of the 15c back, you need to drive to the collection centre. I don’t see how it is a good thing. The only person saving money is the government/council. We are paying more to recycle.”
As the Container Deposit Scheme begins its operations in Wyndham, the efficiency and long-term environmental impact of this initiative remain under scrutiny. While it aims to promote recycling and environmental consciousness, the concerns raised by residents highlight the challenges and scepticism surrounding its implementation, especially given the uncertainty surrounding the temporary diesel generator use.