Container deposit legislation on the cards

CFA member Total Environment Centre has welcomed recent government signals in support of container deposit legislation.

Container deposit legislation promotes recycling and wiser use of resources by creating incentives for the return of used containers such as water bottles and drink cans. Container deposit legislation has been in force in South Australia for many years.

In April TEC welcomed “strong signals from the federal environment minister Tony Burke that he supports a national container deposits system.”

The minister told a press conference on the shores of the Cooks River in Sydney’s inner west, that: ‘The task at the next ministers’ meeting is to get them to join South Australia and the Northern Territory. Container deposits is one of the options in front of us and certainly a CDS will work. There seems to be goodwill amongst the ministers.’

Jeff Angel of TEC is the National Convenor of the Boomerang Alliance, a coalition campaigning for better recycling. “This is a major advance. With ministers meeting by mid-year we will be ramping up our campaign in the key states. It’s taken 10 years to get to this point and every day we wait, another 21million bottles and cans are landfilled or littered,” he said

“Not only are there guaranteed environmental benefits, but the financial case is clear. A national CDS will produce $1.8billion in funds in the first 5 years – supporting the establishment of hundreds of drop-off centres for containers and other products and other recycling and litter programs – at the cost to the consumer of one tenth of a cent per container.”

TEC has criticised the industry promoted alternative of more bins in shopping centres and airports. Mr Angel said this system  “will do nothing to clean up the Cooks River, nor the many other urban streams and highways across Australia. It’s a cynical attempt to divert government attention from the real solution.”

Perhaps in response to the 91% public support in Tasmania, on 17 May the Tasmanian Parliament unanimously resolved to undertake a cost benefit analysis of container deposit legislation, and to signal that the State may ‘go it alone’ if there is no nationally agreed approach. Environment Ministers from all States and the Commonwealth meet in August to consider the issue.