EPHC falls short of local government expectations

By Angela Dorizas

Local government is disappointed that federal, state and territory environment ministers have failed to progress its proposed national container deposit scheme.

Local Government Association of NSW president Cr Genia McCaffery said local government was “clearly disappointed” that the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) did not deliver immediate plans to introduce a national container deposit legislation (CDL).

“We were hoping that we would get some clear directions from that meeting that they would move towards a federal CDL scheme,” Cr McCaffery told GovernmentNews.

“However, it is good that they are going to do further work in terms of the financial liability.

“There’s a bit of disappointment, but we’re at least glad that they’ll continue to consider it.”

She said a national container deposit scheme would ensure that councils and communities were not burdened with the responsibility of cleaning up beverage containers in the waste stream.

“It also ensures, like it does in South Australia, that you get very high recycling rates,” Cr McCaffery added.

“We believe both from an environmental point of view and from a cost to the community point of view CDL is the scheme that the Federal Government should be pushing at a federal level and we’ll keep on lobbying for that.”

The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW will continue to work with the Total Environment Centre and Clean Up Australia, partners in the Boomerang Alliance, to progress a national container deposit scheme.

According to the Alliance, CDL would prompt the beverage container industry to take responsibility for product disposal.

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.

Councils welcome e-waste scheme

Local government applauded the EPHC commitment to introduce a national e-waste recycling scheme.

Cr McCaffery said for too long councils and communities had been “picking up the mess” of e-waste.

“Councils have had collection days where it costs us to get the material recycled,” she said.

“What’s really important about the e-waste scheme is that it actually has the support of the producers.

“Extended Producer Responsibility is the way forward.”

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s “increased engagement on waste policy” and has encouraged federal, state and territory environment ministers to “maintain the momentum”.

Related Story: Councils call for container deposit scheme

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