DEPOSIT SCHEME FOR BOTTLES & CANS
It’s way past time that we re-introduced a deposit system for bottles and cans in Qld. This is not a new idea - if you’re from my generation or older, you will remember, as I do, taking your empty bottles back to the shop to get a 10 or 20c refund. And it was a great system!
Kids and people out of work could make themselves a few dollars by picking up bottles and returning them – and of course this meant that there weren’t any bottles and cans littering our streets or washing into our rivers and out into the ocean.
According to Clean Up Australia’s report on last year’s clean up day, 18,129 tonnes of rubbish was collected, and for the first time in 20 years beverage containers and their associated rubbish outstripped cigarette butts as the most removed items within the National Top 10.
Beverage containers and their associated rubbish increased by 12% last year and these items made up 36% of all rubbish counted.
South Australia introduced a container deposit scheme back in 1977, and it continues to be a highly successful and multi-awarded program which reduces litter and recycles resources.
With this refund scheme, South Australia now leads the nation in the recovery, recycling and litter reduction of beverage containers with a current, overall return rate of 80.8%, and beverage containers make up only 2.2% of litter in SA.
In 2012–13 about 600 Million containers were recycled, representing around 46,000 tonnes of rubbish that may have otherwise ended up as litter or landfill.
This type of ‘product stewardship’ legislation - which obliges manufacturers to take greater responsibility for their packaging after it has been sold – forces beverage suppliers to have a system in place for the recovery and recycling of their empty containers.
We’ve had it before in QLD, we can have it again.
There also needs to be action taken on plastic bags.
Every year over six million tonnes of rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans, and 10% of this debris is plastic bags. Plastic in the ocean kills over 100,000 sea mammals and over a million sea birds each year – and the National Litter Index shows that Queensland is currently the worst performing state in Australia, with almost 20% of litter picked up being plastic bags.
OUR POLICY IS TO INTRODUCE AN EFFECTIVE CONTAINER DEPOSIT SCHEME FOR QLD, AND TO PUT A CHARGE ON SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS.