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NEA's proposed recycling scheme for drink bottles and cans ‘good in theory’ but execution will be tricky, consumers say

A reverse vending machine at a supermarket that accepts empty aluminium drink cans and plastic drink bottles for recycling, in return for a 20-cent supermarket discount voucher.

A reverse vending machine at a supermarket that accepts empty aluminium drink cans and plastic drink bottles for recycling, in return for a 20-cent supermarket discount voucher.

Some coffee-shop owners and consumers said that a proposal to boost the recycling rates for beverage containers through a deposit return scheme is good in theory, but they are concerned that improper execution could lead to greater inconvenience for everyone.

On Tuesday (Sept 20), the National Environment Agency announced that it is looking to have a scheme that would require consumers to pay 10 to 20 cents more for pre-packaged drinks in plastic or metal containers from mid-2024.

To get their deposit back, consumers will have to return their empty, unwashed containers to a designated return point. They can do so either over the counter with a shop cashier, or at a reverse vending machine.

reverse vending machine is essentially a contraption that will dispense a cash amount after a user inserts the appropriate beverage containers — identified with a special barcode.

One concern raised by 37-year-old engineer Claire Gwee was that a lack of infrastructure, or return points, could end up frustrating consumers.

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