It's crunch time for drink cans and plastic bottles.
Public submissions into the State Government’s container deposit scheme have recently closed. The debate has been feisty, with environment and industry groups backing totally different schemes.
The “Cash for Containers” scheme, supported by environment and many community groups, is modelled on schemes used successfully in South Australia and many European countries.
It involves installing 500-800 reverse vending machines across the state, which would provide a 10 cent “reward” for every empty container deposited. In South Australia, where the scheme has been in place since 1977, 80% of drink containers are recycled, and a huge number of community groups have benefited from funds raised through container collection campaigns.
The alternative “Thirst for Good” model is supported by Coca-Cola Amatil and other major players in the industry. It does away with the immediate cash reward, and substitutes “an annual investment by the beverage industry in a suite of programs aimed at reducing little”. Coca Cola says the industry will contribute $15 million each year in "both financial and non-financial incentives”, but environment groups say it will be more like $1 - 2 million.
Green groups, including Boomerang Alliance, Greenpeace and Clean-up, have rubbished the plan, saying it’s "a PR exercise” not a container deposit scheme. Good for Manly agrees.
“The crucial part of a successful scheme is to give cash directly to the person who has brought the drink container back, as an immediate financial incentive,” Good For Manly Cllr Candy Bingham said.
“That makes all the difference.”
The proposals will be considered by Permier and local member Mike Baird and Environment Minister Mark Speakman, with input from an advisory committee, with the government committed to have a container deposit scheme in place by next July.
The two schemes as seen by environment group Boomerang Alliance
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.