Saturday, February 24, 2007

Poll shows backing for bottle recycling refund scheme

Saturday, February 24, 2007 - Clean Up Australia has stepped up its campaign for a national scheme to encourage the collection and recycling of drink bottles and cans...
A Newspoll survey commissioned by the organisation shows four out of five Australians believe a 10-cent refund for drink containers is a good idea. South Australia is the only state with a refund scheme. Clean Up Australia chairman Ian Kiernan is using the survey results to appeal to the beverage industry to take responsibility for recycling the waste it creates.

The survey results show 88 per cent of Australians want the beverage industry to help up a national refund scheme for bottles and cans, like the scheme that already operates in South Australia. Mr Kiernan says the beverage industry would need to contribute to any national scheme, and that is the biggest hurdle.

"We have been campaigning on this for a number of years and we have had severe resistance from industry," he said. "They don't want to embrace producer responsibility." Mr Kiernan says he has been campaigning for a national refund scheme to encourage recycling for years, but the industry has fiercely resisted any involvement. "The beverage industry is making money out of selling the goods, they're selling us the packaging and then leaving the community with the responsibility and the cost of disposing or recovering that material," he said.

A 10-cent deposit on drink bottles and cans would dramatically improve recycling rates in NSW and force industry to take more responsibility for the waste it creates, said NSW Upper House Greens MP Ian Cohen. "Clean Up Australia Day is tomorrow week. It is a wonderful initiative that would be made a lot easier for those involved if we produced less waste on the other 364 days of the year," said Mr Cohen.

"Survey figures released today by Clean Up Australia show that 83% of people in NSW believe a ten cent deposit and refund scheme would encourage more people to recycle bottles and cans, and that 89% think drink manufacturers should be involved in setting up such a deposit and refund scheme.

"A 10-cent deposit scheme would force industry to be more responsible for this waste and would also boost recycling rates enormously. In South Australia, where they have a deposit scheme, the recycling rate is over 80 per cent. Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) would work hand-in-hand with council kerbside recycling to reduce waste going to landfill.

"The current national agreement to reduce waste, the National Packaging Covenant, does not force the packaging industry and retailers to take on a fair share of the costs of recycling. Taxpayers continue to foot the bill to prop up kerbside recycling while the companies that create the waste in the first place sidestep any responsibility for where the waste ends up.

"A container deposit scheme would create a level playing field where consumers and producers shared responsibility for dealing with waste. Landfill space is fast running out and more effective ways of recycling are urgently needed. It would also help make Clean Up Australia Day a cost effective exercise for those fantastic people that get involved in it," said Mr Cohen.


The WA government is currently considering adopting a scheme similar to South Australia’s 5c refund on bottles and cans. This will be a great outcome for the environment, more then doubling WA’s recycling rate and removing these items from being littered in streets, streams and parks. Using recycled materials will save tens of thousands of tones of greenhouse gases and billions of litres of water.

It may also provide Scouts and other groups with a source of income – Scouts South Australia make millions of dollars by running recycling centres which they use to fund camps and buy equipment etc.

It is also an extremely popular initiative with over 90% of the WA community wanting such a scheme, see WA Newspoll. Unfortunately, behind the scenes, some bottling and packaging companies are lobbying against it believing it will cost them money.

The Boomerang Alliance is a coalition of Australia’s major environment groups and local government campaigning for better waste management including achieving CD in WA.

The ACF, Clean Up Australia, Conservation Council WA, Environment Victoria, Greenpeace, Total Environment Centre, NSW Local Government and Shires Association and others are all partners of the alliance and a host of other WA based environment groups as well as the WA Local Government Association all support CD being introduced in WA.

Container Deposits work in South Australia, where since the 1970s people recycle around 85% of their containers, whereas WA only recycles 15% of its PET, 21% of its glass, 58% of its aluminium cans and 12% of its steel cans. Nationally, Australians recycle on average around 45% of all materials including paper.

See Boomerang Alliance's Campaign:

And stay tuned for this issue to be amped up in the coming weeks here in WA...

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