The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) and the Plastic Free WA alliance have welcomed the State Government’s discussion paper on the container deposit scheme, and are encouraging the community to submit their comments before the deadline on 23 October.
The scheme is expected to be delivered in 2019, and will provide a 10 cent refund for each beverage container, which currently account for 35% of the volume of WA’s litter. The scheme is also expected to create 500 ongoing jobs.
CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said the release of this discussion paper shows that the McGowan Government are taking waste and recycling seriously and are consulting the community in the solutions.
“A recycling refund scheme for beverage containers is a proven way to dramatically increase recycling and tackle litter, while allowing community groups and individuals to participate in recycling.
“Many of our regional areas have huge litter problems and no recycling options, but a refund scheme can be designed to deliver local recycling solutions and help support the existing kerbside recycling programs to expand.
“A deposit scheme can also provide the volume and quality of recyclable materials needed to support local reprocessing industries. That means more jobs and investment here, and fewer materials shipped overseas and interstate for recycling.
“We hope that over time the type of containers covered by the scheme will expand and the network of collection facilities can serve as collection points for other recyclable products and materials - especially where kerbside recycling services are not provided by Local Government.”
Plastic Free WA spokesperson Sarah English said, “Plastic Free WA welcomes Premier McGowan and Minister Dawson’s commitment to the container deposit scheme, and encourage the community to submit their feedback to ensure the scheme is as successful as possible.
“Currently we have very low recycling rates for drink containers, with the majority ending up in landfill or littering our environment. Beverage container litter is a major source of plastic pollution in the marine environment here in Western Australia.
The issue was highlighted in WA recently when ‘Tina’, a distressed juvenile green sea turtle, was found in the Perth suburb of Shoalwater. After examination at Perth Zoo the turtle's intestines were found to be full of plastic.
“Stories like Tina the Turtle have brought the plastic pollution problem to our doorstep, showing that our environment and marine life is suffering badly, and that we need to act now. Beverage containers currently account for 35% of the volume of WA’s litter, and the container deposit scheme will reduce this dramatically.
“Plastics never break down, but persist in our environment to harm and kill our birds and marine life. The solution is to prevent plastic pollution in the first place and recycling refunds will play a major part in that.”