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April 10, 2008

Sydney Morning Herald

Call for cans, bottles deposit scheme

South Australia will push for national container deposit legislation when state and federal environment ministers meet in Melbourne next week.

South Australian Environment Minister Gail Gago said that with SA having a deposit on drink cans and bottles for 31 years, it was time for the rest of Australia to catch up.

SA's view has also been backed by Clean Up Australia, which says recycling rates would be significantly boosted through a container deposit scheme.

"SA's record speaks for itself, recycling considerably more than any other Australian state," Ms Gago said.

"For 31 years, we've heard the beverage industry argue why other states can't introduce a container deposit scheme, but now it's time to act."

"In SA, we recycle one third more aluminium cans than other states and 85 per cent of glass soft drink bottles, compared to 36 per cent nationally.

"Here, beverage containers make up less than 20 per cent of litter by volume compared to 50 per cent in other states."

Clean Up Australia chairman Ian Kiernan said a national container deposit scheme was definitely the way forward for Australia on recycling.

"South Australia has taken the lead on this issue but there is a historic opportunity next week in Melbourne 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," he said.

"In a national poll last year for Clean Up Australia, 82 per cent of people said they believed a 10 cent refund scheme should be established across the country.

"Beverage containers make up a large proportion of the rubbish volunteers find dumped in the natural environment on Clean Up Australia Day each year."

Mr Kiernan said that while consumer behaviour needed to improve, government and industry had to share responsibility for tackling waste.


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