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October 18, 2010

Cowra Community News

Councils ‘should not pay for beverage industry litter’

LOCAL government and the Boomerang Alliance are calling on the federal and state environment ministers to remain firmly focused on the issue of container deposit legislation (CDL) when they meet in Sydney early next month.

A container deposit system would save councils up to $32 million a year, according to the Local Government and Shires’ Associations of New South Wales.

The ministers will meet on November 4 at the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) meeting to decide what will be included in a review of packaging waste.

Local Government Association president, Genia McCaffery, says the alternatives options being proposed – start-up grants from a packaging tax or the Australian Packaging Convenant – by some beverage industry groups and government agencies will impose significant costs on councils.

“The alternative options being proposed are unacceptable, particularly since a container deposit system would save councils up to $32 million a year,” says Cr McCaffery.

“If a packaging tax was introduced, councils and ratepayers would still be bearing the cost of delivering recycling for commercial and public space waste collections, and we’d continue to have a low return rate of drink containers.

“A container deposit system is a much more sensible and smarter option. It’s a direct user-pay initiative that provides a strong incentive to recycle and raises awareness of the use of containers.”

Shires’ Association president, Bruce Miller, says that CDL would bring a range of economic and environmental benefits if implemented in NSW.

“NSW councils have always been supportive of introducing CDL, as it provides multiple benefits for councils and their communities and has been extremely successful in places like the USA, Canada and Europe, as well as South Australia,” says Cr Miller.

“A container deposit system would create hundreds of new drop-off centres across Australia at no cost to governments.

“It would also have enormous environmental benefits by reducing litter, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and landfill.”

Jeff Angel, director of Total Environment Centre and convenor of the Boomerang Alliance, says they are calling on the ministers to not be blinded by alternative options being proposed by the beverage industry.

“It’s just another way for polluting beverage companies to avoid their responsibility and cost shift to councils and ratepayers,” he says.

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