plastic 1Clean up groups and environment organisations in Queensland have welcomed the 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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