Councils call for container deposit scheme

Councils call for container deposit scheme
A national container deposit scheme could lift recycling rates to up to 85 per cent. Image: iStock.

By Angela Dorizas

Container deposit legislation is urgently needed in New South Wales to increase recycling, according to the Local Government and Shires Associations (LGSA).

Clean Up Australia and LGSA have argued that the introduction of a 10cent refund scheme on drink cans and bottles would boost recycling by more than 20 per cent.

They’re now calling on state and federal ministers of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) to urgently address recycling and container deposit legislation at their meeting in Hobart on Friday.

Local Government Association president Cr Genia McCaffery said the introduction of container deposit legislation would prompt the beverage container industry to take responsibility for product disposal.

“Kerbside collection of recyclables currently costs well over $300 million a year nationally to run and our communities are the ones to bear this cost,” Cr McCaffery said.

“The time of the current voluntary National Packaging Covenant is clearly finished – it was flawed from the start and has done little if anything to stem the ever growing tide of drink containers.

“The Commonwealth must introduce the kind of legislation that has proven so environmentally and financially effective in Europe, the US, Canada and, of course, in South Australia.”

Through attaching a value of 10 cents to drink containers, the scheme can potentially guarantee recycling rates of between 70 to 85 per cent. Recycling rates outside of South Australia are currently 50 per cent or less, LGSA said.

Clean Up Australia chairman Ian Kiernan said container deposit schemes would prevent consumers from dumping recyclables in the natural environment.

“Drink containers make up a large proportion of the rubbish volunteers find dumped in the natural environment on Clean Up Australia Day each year – up to almost 40 per cent,” he said.

“South Australia has taken the lead on this issue but there is a historic opportunity on the 22 May in Hobart for all states and territories to act in the national interest to address an environmental issue that really should have been properly dealt with decades ago.”

LGSA and Clean Up Australia commended the efforts of some state ministers to pursue container deposit legislation but called for a national scheme to be adopted.

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