Introducing a container deposit system (CDS) would cost New Zealand $75 million a year, new Covec analysis released by the Packaging Forum has revealed. Even though this would lead to increased recycling rates, bringing a benefit of $22 million per annum, it would also require a new take back system, which would cost $97 million annually.

“This would result in a net cost of $75 million each year, meaning that every additional tonne recycled would be at a cost of around $2,200,” said Tim Denne, director of Covec. “The two main costs are the costs of household time in making returns and the costs for installing and running collection infrastructure, such as reverse vending beverage prices.”

New Zealanders currently consume 2.1 billion beverage containers each year, and their recycling rate is at least 69 percent by weight, achieved through a non-regulated system of kerbside and public place recycling. The glass recycling rate is at 73 percent with a target of 78 percent by 2017.

Denne said that industry initiatives are already in place, and will help narrow the gap between the current rate and the target 80 percent rate without the need of an expensive container deposit system.

“CDS is often proposed as a means to reduce public litter. However, the National Litter Survey found that beverage containers represent around 11 percent of litter, so not only would a CDS be very expensive for New Zealanders, it would also have no impact on around 89 percent of litter in public places which is not drinks bottles, cans or cartons.”

To help fund industry’s costs, Covec have found, consumers would have to pay more at the point of purchase.