NSW EPA win over container deposit scheme

By Tom Ravlic

May 6, 2022

Return and earn deposit station
The packaging laws breached by Golden Seasons relate to a ‘Return and Earn’ scheme. (Daria Nipot/Adobe)

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority has scored a compliance win, with drink importer Golden Seasons International Trading Pty Ltd becoming the first company to cop a fine under requirements that govern container deposit schemes in NSW packaging laws.

The packaging laws breached by Golden Seasons relate to a ‘Return and Earn’ scheme that is designed to minimise packaging waste.

Golden Seasons was fined $9,000 in April for supplying containers that did not contain a required 10c reward for consumers, failing to get approval from the NSW Environmental Protection Authority, and not being a part of a supply agreement with the Exchange for Change required under the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (WARR) Act.

Container deposit scheme director Alex Young said the authority had contacted the company many times to enforce compliance under the scheme.

Young said the process of communicating with the company included a formal warning letter and a show-cause letter.

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

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

Companies that import or supply drinks pay scheme costs from which the 10c refund is paid to those who deposit containers.

“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,” Young said.

“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.”

Markings on packaging related to refunds for container deposits are important, Young said, because that is the way consumers become aware they can get a refund on the packaging.

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


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