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August 6, 2009

Australian Associated Press

Recycling deposit scheme 'rubbish'

SUGGESTIONS that a national deposit scheme for recycled beverage containers might reduce littering might just be rubbish, a food packaging executive says.

The Keep Australia Beautiful national litter index, funded by state and territory governments and the National Packaging Covenant Industry Association, found Victorians have made the greatest reduction in discarded litter, including beverage containers.

Unlike South Australia, Victoria does not have a container deposit scheme.

South Australia introduced its deposit scheme in 1977, with 10 cents paid for every container returned for recycling.

The study examined 983 sites, all covering one hectare, around Australia.

The index showed that between the first National Litter Index survey in 2005/06 and the 2008/09 financial year, the number of items of litter at Victorian sites dropped from 71 per hectare to 43.
This compares with the national average of 70 items per hectare in 2005/06 to 63 last financial year.

NSW, the ACT and South Australia recorded modest decreases in the amount of litter found, and Tasmania recorded a slight increase.

A substantial rise in the amount of litter at each site was found in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) chief executive Kate Carnell said the result showed industry-based recycling and litter reduction programs were more effective that a deposit scheme.

"Victoria has impressively led Australia in reducing the volume of discarded litter - including glass alcoholic and metal alcoholic containers - at beaches, highways and shopping centres by more than 60 per cent over the past financial year," she said.

The amount of litter observed at South Australian sites increased between 2006/07 and 2008/09 despite the Government doubling the deposit rate from 5 cents to 10 cents, Ms Carnell said.

Victoria's success came from enforcement and heavy littering fines, she said.


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