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WA plans bottle deposit scheme

AAP logoAAP 17/08/2016

Western Australia is finally catching up with South Australia and the Northern Territory in introducing a container deposit scheme for drink cans and bottles, likely from mid-2018.

Under the scheme, which has been approved by cabinet but may require a legislative change, a 10 cent refund can be claimed from a collection depot or reverse vending machines.

WA Environment Minister Albert Jacob said he expected reimbursements could go directly onto credit cards.

The state opposition proposed such a scheme in 2011 but the Liberals and Nationals didn't support it.

"When they proposed this option, we were engaged in the COAG process ... to support a national scheme," Mr Jacob told reporters on Wednesday.

"That has since fallen by the wayside."

Premier Colin Barnett said the state government decided to go its own way after NSW announced it would introduce its own container deposit scheme, which the ACT and Queensland also plan.

WA Labor leader Mark McGowan said a scheme should have been in place years ago and he would implement it as soon as possible if he wins the 2017 poll.

"It is good to see Mr Barnett finally come to his senses," Mr McGowan said.

Mr Jacob said the scheme would require start-up costs, using surplus funds from the Waste Avoidance Levy, but would eventually be "self-funding".

He also said he would consult with Coca-Cola Amatil, which said in a statement it was working with the NSW and Queensland governments as their schemes were introduced, and also looked forward to working with the WA government.

Opposition environment spokesman Chris Tallentire told AAP that a bottle return scheme that was popular in WA decades ago had been paid for by beverage companies but was stopped when it became economically unviable.

Under that scheme, bottles were washed and reused, but they were now melted down for reuse, Mr Tallentire said.

South Australia's litter stream has only 2.2 per cent drink containers, compared with 13.2 per cent in WA.

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