March 1, 2009
Recycling of containers soars
A DOUBLING of the deposit on drink containers has led to a major decrease in litter and returned millions of dollars to the pockets of recyclers.
Figures released yesterday show more than 19 million extra containers were recycled in the final quarter of last year, lifting the total return rate to almost 76 per cent. This came after the State Government lifted the deposit value from 5c to 10c in September.
More than 153 million containers were returned between October and December last year and the most significant increase was noticed in flavoured milk containers.
If the result continues, South Australia's deposit scheme will be worth $60 million to recyclers annually.
Environment and Conservation Minister Jay Weatherill said the figures were proof the scheme was working.
"Preliminary results already are showing an encouraging increase in the number of bottles, cartons and cans being returned and diverted from the litter stream and landfill," he said.
Mr Weatherill said the State Government was continually reviewing the scheme and would consider placing deposits on other containers including plain milk.
Two thousand tonnes of beverage-related rubbish were collected during the nationwide Clean Up Australia Day last year.
In some states, that rubbish accounted for around half the haul. In SA, the figure was closer to 10 per cent.
"By recycling like we do, it is estimated South Australians reduce annual emissions of greenhouse gases by about 60,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents," Mr Weatherill said.
South Australia is the only state in Australia to enforce drink container refunds.