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September 17, 2008

The Epoch Times

Call for Bottle Recycling Scheme

Bottle recycling
Queensland should take on a bottle recycling similar to South Australia's, Consumer Watch spokesman Paul Tully says. (Sascha Schuermann/AFP/Getty Images)

BRISBANE—Millions of empty bottles being dumped in Queensland landfill should be recycled using a deposit scheme similar to South Australia's, a Queensland consumer group says.

South Australia has had compulsory bottle deposits in place since 1977 to encourage recycling and reduce waste.

A deposit system for empty bottles in Queensland was abolished 30 years ago.

Queensland Consumer Watch spokesman Paul Tully today said the time had come for a 10 cent mandatory container deposit scheme.

"It is a tragedy that millions of empty bottles are dumped at land fills around Queensland every year when they could be recycled," he said.

"We used to have bottle deposits in Queensland under a scheme managed by soft drink manufacturers.

"Generations of Queenslanders will remember the days when they could earn good pocket money by handing in bottles but that system was abolished 30 years ago."

Mr Tully said compulsory deposits on all drink containers would be a major boost for the environment as well as performing an educational role by encouraging everyone to recycle their waste containers.

"Littering would be reduced because people would have a real incentive to cash in their bottles or for collectors to pick them up from the side of the road," he said.

Mr Tully said the only opponents of such a scheme were the big manufacturers and bottle users, and he called for Queensland to go it alone if the federal government would not introduce national legislation.

The Queensland opposition backed the call, with environment spokesman Dave Gibson labelling the Bligh government "lazy" for ignoring community concerns over the issue.

Mr Gibson said a Newspoll survey showed 87 per cent of people supported container recycling schemes.

"It's time the Bligh government acted and introduced mirror legislation to South Australia," he said.

Environmental lobbyists the Total Environment Centre said South Australia recycled almost twice as many of their drink containers as elsewhere.

Spokeswoman Jane Castle estimated the national average for drink container recycling was about 40 per cent, while in South Australia it was as high as 80 per cent.

"Clearly, if you have a container deposit system, you can almost double the level of beverage container recycling," she said.

A spokesman for federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said container recycling was on the agenda for a future Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) meeting, comprising state and federal environment ministers.

He said ministers agreed to investigate the merits of a national system and alternatives, taking into account the South Australian experience and the results of investigations undertaken for a similar scheme in Western Australia and Tasmania.

"This is likely to take place at the first meeting of the council in 2009," the spokesman said.

Family First senator Steve Fielding introduced a drink container recycling bill into the Senate in March, proposing a system similar to South Australia's.

Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria all have draft legislation prepared.


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