Trade Resources Logistics & Customs A Container Deposit Scheme Can Solve The Worst Problem of Bottles and Cans

A Container Deposit Scheme Can Solve The Worst Problem of Bottles and Cans

Environmentalists have released the 'What a Waste' report, calling for more effective action on and measurement of litter, at the start of Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) week.

"We think the KAB exercise has stalled and its National Litter Index lacks credibility for some key issues such as comparing between states and actual litter counts. Our report shows that of the 20 NSW sites we inspected, none came close to the so-called average claimed by KAB's National Litter Index (NLI). The Victorian government's annual litter report also shows much more average litter per site. Australia needs some new weapons in its arsenal, and it needs a better way to measure litter," said Jeff Angel, national convenor of the Boomerang Alliance of 27 groups.

"In terms of litter size and embodied resources, bottles and cans are by far the worst problem, with plastic bottles becoming a bigger issue each year. The only proven solution is a container deposit scheme, which removes drink containers from the litter stream and improves public space bin volume – helping solve two major problems.

"Keep Australia Beautiful should be supporting a 10-cent deposit/refund scheme for drink containers as part of an improved anti-litter regime. Notably, the volume of beverage containers in Northern Territory litter has halved, because of its 10-cent refund scheme.

"The NLI is suspect as a measure of litter because it can't tell you if a site has been cleaned up before inspection; gives no picture of behavioural issues; does not examine hot spots; is not adjusted for the different populations in each state; nor can you confidently compare between states.

"Its data has also been misused by the packaging industry and government to give the impression that litter is under control.

"For example, they try to say a cigarette butt is the same as a plastic bottle in an item count to diminish the drink container issue. But, clearly, bottles and cans have a much bigger volume and represent a very significant waste of resources.

"There's a lot more to do," Mr Angel said.

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