Cash for Containers scheme in Queensland a step closer

As a member of the Boomerang Alliance, Surfrider Foundation welcomes the recent announcement that the state government will investigate a container deposit scheme for Queensland, as well as possible restrictions on single-use plastic bags. 

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This is a first step towards the development of a scheme and meets an election promise by the government. The move also allows the state to collaborate with NSW who plan to introduce a container deposit scheme in mid-2017.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Steven Miles said that South Australia, Northern Territory, the ACT and Tasmania had banned the use of single-use plastic bags, and the Queensland government was interested in seeing what may work both at a national and state level.  

The 2014 Clean Up Australia Rubbish Report highlighted how polluted Queensland is, with plastics and drink containers being particular problems. Beverage containers represented more than 37% of the Top 10 litter items reported by clean-up volunteers last year, and SEQ Healthywaterways reports show a 50% increase in plastic bottles found during clean ups since 2007. 

For a number of years Surfrider Foundation has been highlighting the impacts of plastics in the marine environment through our Rise Above Plastics campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and encourage community members and local businesses to reduce single-use plastic products. 

Virtually every piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists in some shape or form, including as litter on our streets and beaches, which ultimately ends up in our oceans. Each year, over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die from ingestion of, or entanglement in plastics. 

The Rise Above Plastics campaign is a call to all surfers, beach goers and coastal communities to think about how they can make a difference, and prevent their ocean from turning into a ‘plastic soup’. 

Go to http://www.surfridergct.org/rise_above_plastics for more details. 

Surfrider GCT looks forward to working with Boomerang Alliance and its partners to progress the push towards these schemes being introduced into Queensland. 

Drop us an email at goldcoast@surfrider.org.au if you’d like to get involved in this campaign. 

Greg Howell

Surfrider Foundation Gold Coast

0414 939 642

 

Here is Boomerang Alliance’s full media release:

Clean up groups and environment organisations in Queensland have welcomed today’s announcement that the State Government will investigate a container deposit scheme for Queensland. This is a first step towards the development of a scheme and meets an election promise by the government.  The move also allows the state to collaborate with NSW who plan to introduce a container deposit scheme in mid-2017. 

‘Queensland is the most littered state in Australia with plastic bottles and plastic packaging representing the bulk of that litter.  Recycling is also at a low ebb with the state missing out on significant employment creation opportunities,’ said Toby Hutcheon of the Boomerang Alliance, on behalf of the joint groups. 

‘Litter, particularly plastics, is not only an eyesore it’s deadly to wildlife. Thousands of sea birds die in Queensland every year whilst studies show that 30% of all turtle mortalities in Moreton Bay are due to plastic ingestion.  Queenslanders don’t want their state to be known as the ‘rubbish state’. 

Recent studies, including an ARC Coral Reef Study in the GBR, show that microplastics are accumulating in the marine environment and entering the food chain. Corals have been found to ingest these microplastics. 

‘A cash for containers scheme that applies refundable deposits on all beverage containers is the proven approach to reducing beverage container litter with schemes in over 40 other jurisdictions around the world. ‘ 

‘In States such as South Australia, where a scheme has been in place for over 30 years, beverage container recycling rates are over 80% compared to Queensland’s less than 40%.’ 

A cash for container scheme will reduce litter management costs and, increase the value of kerbside collection materials for Councils; as well as providing a significant fundraising opportunity for community organisations that collect cans and bottles. 

'A container deposit system would create hundreds of jobs and substantial funds every year for charities and local clubs.’ 

‘A container refund scheme is also popular with the community. A recent Newspoll by Boomerang Alliance (Jan 2015) showed that 85% of Queenslanders supported a container deposit scheme.’ said Hutcheon. 

An investigation into a scheme is the first step towards addressing Queensland rubbish problem. We urge the State to ramp up its efforts, work with NSW and set its sights on implementing a scheme in 2017. 

The groups said they would be active in community discussion about a scheme and warned they would vigorously oppose any token industry alternatives like the bin network and ‘thirst for good’.

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