February 3, 2008
Call for National Container RefundCLEAN Up Australia has urged governments across the nation to follow the example of South Australia and introduce a national drinks container refund scheme.
The organisation's annual rubbish report, released today, showed nearly 40 per cent of the 8000 tonnes of rubbish collected on Clean Up Australia Day was used drink bottles and cans.
Chairman Ian Kiernan said climate change meant Australia had to change its ways, with recycling reform an important part of that.
“That is one of the reasons that we are urging the Government, the Federal Government if we can, and if not... then the State Governments, to go to deposit legislation where there is a value on the waste,” Mr Kiernan said at the launch of the 2008 Clean Up Australia campaign.
South Australia's successful recycling scheme, by which each drink bottle and can is worth a five cents' refund, should be the model used for the nation, he said.
“South Australia recycles 90 per cent of drink containers while the other states' average was 38 per cent,” Mr Kiernan said.
“I rest my case on that one.”
Mr Kiernan said his organisation would ask South Australia to raise its refund to 20 cents as the current deposit was too low.
“That is what we are asking generally in our suggestion for container deposit legislation, that it be set at 20 cents.”
It was a great way for children and adults to save money, he said.
“A kid will go and grab it and because they can get five cents for it,” the 1994 Australian of the Year said.
“I bought my first boat through redemptions.”
The rubbish report also found that nearly 40 per cent of everything collected was plastic, which demonstrated a need for greater recycling of oil-based goods, Mr Kiernan said.
A greater shift towards recycling rather than manufacture of such items would slow the “squandering” of the planet's oil reserves, he said.
The Clean Up Australia chairman said climate change was here to stay and it was up to people to adapt accordingly.
“We've got to change our behaviour and that means changing our behaviour in relation to water management, to energy management, to waste management and to our overall consumption of resources,” Mr Kiernan said.
The most commonly found piece of rubbish last year was again the cigarette butt and while there was a two per cent drop in the number found, Mr Kiernan wants butts knocked off the list entirely.
“If only the smokers would take responsibility for their cigarettes butts and other smoking paraphernalia,” he said.
The 18th annual Clean Up Australia Day will be held on March 2.