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February 9, 2010

The Mercury

Greens unveil can-do policy

FIRST it was a Liberal plan to ban plastic bags ... now the Greens have made a pledge to introduce a container deposit scheme.

The scheme, similar to one in South Australia, would offer a return of up to 10c for every returned bottle or can.

Greens environment spokeswoman Cassy O'Connor said the scheme would dramatically reduce litter on streets and in waterways and the amount of waste that went into landfill.

"The need for the scheme in Tasmania is made obvious every Clean Up Australia Day when volunteers collect thousands of tonnes of rubbish, much of it beverage containers that are not biodegradable, have a recyclable value and could generate an income stream for individuals and not-for-profit organisations," Ms O'Connor said.

"A comprehensive scheme would do more than any other legislative measure to reduce the amount of litter on our roadsides, clogging up our waterways and fouling our beaches."

A bid for a national container deposit scheme was voted down at a meeting of environment ministers in Hobart last May.

Environment, Parks and Heritage Minister Michelle O'Byrne said the State Government was still investigating possible models for a state-based scheme.

"A major consideration for government is the possible impact of a scheme on recycling industries and local government waste management and kerbside recycling services," Ms O'Byrne said.

"The State Government is awaiting a national report on the community's preparedness to pay for a national scheme."

A powerful group of drink manufacturers has warned that consumers will pay an extra $3.36 for a slab of beer and 14c more for a can of Coke if such a scheme is adopted.

South Australia, which has banned non-biodegradable plastic bags, has had a container deposit scheme since 1977.

Ms O'Connor said this proved state-based schemes could be successful.

"In South Australia, for example, it's estimated there are approximately 540 million refundable containers sold each year with approximately 420 million returned for refunds," she said.


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