January 5, 2009
Bottle and can windfall
A COMBINATION of tough financial times and the doubling of deposits on cans and bottles has created a recycling boom across the city.
Adelaide recycling stations have recorded an almost 30 per cent rise in business since the State Government increased deposits from 5c to 10c last September.
KESAB executive director John Phillips said the state's recycling industry was worth about $150 million a year and more than 80 per cent of all aluminium cans and glass bottles sold were now returned for recycling.
Bottle yards in the state collect more than 460 million bottles and cans each year.
"The simple situation is that if you throw that can away, you've thrown away 10c and I think people have started to take notice of that," Mr Phillips said.
"We have people from interstate regularly saying to us that as soon as you cross the border into SA it is noticeably cleaner and a much tidier place."
Brighton recycling centre Kamleh Can Depot owner Moufid Kamleh said the global financial crisis meant more people were relying on recycling to supplement the budget.
"Before people didn't really care so much and would throw it in the rubbish, but now they're saving them and bringing them in to get whatever money they can," he said. "If a youngster throws a can in the street, the pensioner will come and pick it up."
The State Government's Zero Waste SA scheme aims to redirect 25 per cent of waste away from landfill by 2014 and has recorded an 11 per cent improvement since 2003.
Environment and Conservation Minister Jay Weatherill said he would receive official recycling figures in the coming months, but early reports suggested the deposit boost was working.
SA is the only state operating a container deposit scheme and the Federal Government is considering plans that would see it replicated across the nation. But Mr Phillips has warned any moves to mirror SA will face staunch opposition from multi-national beverage companies including Coca-Cola and Lion Nathan.
"They vehemently oppose it and will do anything in their power to stop it," he said.
A spokesman for Environment Minister Peter Garrett said a report on the viability of a national scheme would be tabled by June.