The Victorian container deposit scheme (the Scheme) commenced on 1 November 2023, under which Victorians can exchange eligible beverage containers for 10 cents at designated refund points across Victoria.
If you are a distributor, manufacturer, retailer or importer who supplies eligible beverage containers in Victoria, you may be considered a first supplier (First Supplier), resulting in a legal obligation to comply with the Scheme.
The Scheme is currently governed by the Circular Economy (Waste Reduction and Recycling) Act 2021 (Vic) (the Act) and its associated regulations.
Under the Act, it is an offence for a First Supplier to supply an eligible container without first entering into a supply agreement (Supply Agreement) with the Scheme Coordinator (a body created to manage the financial and administrative aspects of the Scheme).
The Supply Agreement is a contract between a First Supplier and the Scheme Coordinator under which, among other things, the First Supplier has reporting obligations and must make payments to the Scheme Coordinator to fund the Scheme.
Under the Supply Agreement, First Suppliers are required to pay a fixed price to the Scheme Coordinator per eligible container supplied, which is currently between 12-13 cents, depending on the material type of the container.
In addition to this, First Suppliers must also report to the Scheme Coordinator monthly, outlining the number of eligible containers supplied in Victoria for the month, by material type. The Scheme Coordinator will subsequently issue an invoice to the First Supplier, based on the sum of containers supplied multiplied by the respective cost for each material type.
Powers of the scheme coordinator
If a First Supplier fails to submit a report by the date it is due, the Scheme Coordinator has the power to generate a report on behalf of the First Supplier, which it believes to be fair and reasonable. This report will form the basis for the fee the First Supplier is charged.
The Scheme Coordinator also has the power to appoint an independent auditor, if it suspects a First Supplier may be under-reporting the total number of eligible containers it supplies.
If you are a First Supplier and require assistance complying with the Scheme, the Act or the Supply Agreement, please reach out to us for further information.
If you have any questions about this article, please get in touch with an author or any member of our Corporate team.
This information and the contents of this publication, current as at the date of publication, is general in nature to offer assistance to Cornwalls’ clients, prospective clients and stakeholders, and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal or financial advice. If you are concerned about any topic covered, we recommend that you seek your own specific legal and financial advice before taking any action.