NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has labelled the rollout of the state government’s controversial “cash-for-cans” scheme as “diabolical”.
From Friday, consumers can head to 250 collection points – the majority of which are in Sydney – to redeem “eligible” bottles for 10 cents each.
Collection points include reverse vending machines, over-the-counter sites such as petrol stations and cafes and automated depots for high volumes of returns.
State Environment minister Gabrielle Upton admits the roll-out has had its “challenges”.
‘There have been challenges…it is a massive logistical scheme, it’s going to be better than any other scheme in Australia, so there have been challenges getting to some of those locations it’s been in some cases landlords have not wanted tenants to have collection points,’ she told ABC Radio on Friday.
Small businesses say they’ll go broke because of the compliance costs, while there’s criticism the reverse vending machines are not accessible to people with disabilities.
Woolworths, a refund partner of the scheme, has already erected signs in its stores advising customers “the price of many beverages will be increasing” with “the NSW Government initiative to reduce litter”.
Coca-Cola Amatil also says it will recover costs of the scheme from customers by raising prices.
Anyone who hands in containers can donate their 10-cent refund to charity or receive a refund into a registered PayPal account or in the form of a Woolworths retail voucher.
The cash goes to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) which registers the details of each container in order to comply with the recycling scheme.
‘There is no question, the rollout has been diabolical,’ John Barilaro told 2GB on Friday,
He said the contractors along with the EPA were responsible “for what is a botched rollout.”
The state government originally planned to roll out 800 reverse vending machines across 500 collection points.
According to the online Return and Earn map, only 45 reverse vending machines are ready, alongside 237 over-the-counter collection points.