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October 25, 2007

Voice of Tasmania: Mercury

Refund plan for Tassie

REFUND scheme to encourage people to recycle cans, bottles and other packaging has been flagged for Tasmania.

It would be similar to the one operating in South Australia, where people receive 5c a bottle at collection depots.

Environment Minister Paula Wriedt yesterday announced a study into the feasibility of a cash-return scheme for cans, bottles and other packaging.

Such a scheme could address Tasmania's "significant" litter problem, she said as she presented a large bag of rubbish she had collected in 10 minutes at Kingston.

Ms Wriedt said the study would determine what the deposit would be, but predicted it would be 5, 10 or 20c.

The deposit would be added to the price of the carton of milk or bottle of drink and refunded at a depot.

"Kerbside recycling does not pick up all the objects such as glasses and bottles and cans because a lot are consumed out of the home," she said.

"Hopefully there will be an incentive for people to take them back to a place and get a refund as part of that deposit."

Ms Wriedt said the study would start soon and would report early to mid next year.

"Western Australia is currently investigating how a container deposit system can work in tandem with their kerbside recycling system," she said.

"We will look closely at this because we do not want to undermine our kerb-side system, which is working well."

Tasmanian Greens deputy leader Nick McKim welcomed the move towards a deposit scheme, which he has campaigned for since 2003.

But he warned "major players in the beverage industry would attempt to derail" its introduction.

He said the scheme would be good for the environment and the economy and would improve recycling rates.

Mr McKim said South Australia had a plastic drink bottle recycling rate of 85 per cent compared to Tasmania's rate of less than 10 per cent.

Ms Wriedt reminded Tasmania of the tough new litter laws coming into force at the end of the year. They will introduce substantial fines for littering and a public dob-in-a-litterbug hotline.


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