Environment Minister Stephen Dawson is not worried about dumpster divers going through the trash of Western Australians looking for cans and bottles to trade for cash when the State’s container deposit scheme starts next year.
Mr Dawson announced today the scheme would be starting June 2 next year at which point 170 collection points for most recyclable cans and bottles between 150mL and 3L would be set up.
People who return an eligible beverage container would receive 10c an item.
There have been tensions at times between waste collection services and people who remove recyclables from bins for the 10c refund in eastern states with similar schemes.
Mr Dawson said a similar scenario could happen in WA but there were penalties for anyone caught in the act.
“We’ll probably see people go through the city, look at bins in the Hay Street Mall for example, take cans and bottles out and bring them back,” he said.
“The law doesn’t allow you to go through someone else’s bin so if you’re caught doing that you can face the wrath of the law.”
A Waste and Recycling Industry Association of Western Australia spokesman said the issue could be problematic.
“We would support the scheme coordinator running an ongoing community education campaign with a particular focus on the potential for individuals to put themselves and others at danger by foraging through the different potential sources of material,” he said.
The scheme will be starting later than the McGowan Government had hoped, however, Mr Dawson said the kick-off date had been chosen to allow community organisations who would be involved to get ready.st
“We had been hoping for a more ambitious timeline to have it earlier in the year but we’ve worked with the scheme coordinator in WA … and we’ve also listened to the various community organisations that want to participate in the scheme,” he said.
“One of the objectives of the scheme in WA is for organisations which employ people with disability or have long term unemployed in their books, they will participate in this scheme.
“It is estimated about 500 jobs will be created once this scheme is rolled out.”