Drinking container deposit scheme headed for NSW but Victorians warned they will be penalised if they seek refunds

A 10-cent refund for drink containers sold in NSW will start in July with Victorians facing fines if they seek money for their cans and bottles.

The NSW parliament passed legislation for the scheme this week with Environment Minister Mark Speakman saying measures would be in place to stop refunds being abused.

“It will be an offence for a person knowingly to redeem a container that is purchased outside NSW or one that has been previously redeemed,” Mr Speakman said.

The act states individuals would face maximum fines of $110,000 and companies $440,000 if they claimed refunds for containers not part of the scheme.

Mr Speakman said a special marker would appear on cans and bottles subject to refunds.

Plastic not so fantastic: IGA supermarket owner Bob Mathews is seeking feedback on a plan to phase out plastic bags at his Jindera store.

Plastic not so fantastic: IGA supermarket owner Bob Mathews is seeking feedback on a plan to phase out plastic bags at his Jindera store.

“It is intended that this mark will be designed so it will not need to be changed if other jurisdictions adopt a (deposit scheme) with the same refund amount in the future,” he said.

Member for Albury Greg Aplin said proof of identity was likely to be required to determine the home state of those seeking refunds.

He expected refund sites to be established at tips and for charities and existing recycling businesses to become involved.

A network operator will be appointed in various areas of NSW to oversee the scheme’s implementation from July 1.

Refunds will be offered on drink containers between 150ml and three litres but not for most milk and juice cartons and plastic bottles.

Also aiming to tackle litter is Border IGA supermarket owner Bob Mathews who is set to seek feedback on a plan to phase out plastic bags at his Jindera store.

He will put out a customer questionnaire next month and is hopeful customers may follow the lead of their counterparts at his Lockhart store which has been without plastic bags for five years.

Asked if he would consider the same approach at his East Albury and Springdale Heights stores, Mr Mathews was wary.

“I think we would struggle to get the vote there,” Mr Mathews said.

“The number that do care (about the issue) there are great, but quite a few just want to get stuff in their bag and get home.

“I’ll do some talking in Albury and ask them what they think.”

Mr Mathews said he would still have small bundles of plastic bags for sale, but he believes eliminating them could reduce their annual use from a million to 20,000.

Greater Hume mayor Heather Wilton said her council was supportive of Mr Mathews’ plan which would be introduced in January if customers approved.

She said the shire would promote it on their website and via other channels.