Container deposit scheme does not go far enough: environmentalists

National Toxics Network Zero Waste Oz coordinator Jane Bremmer and Two Hands project coordinator Paul Sharp outside the Coca Cola plant in Hazelmere.
National Toxics Network Zero Waste Oz coordinator Jane Bremmer and Two Hands project coordinator Paul Sharp outside the Coca Cola plant in Hazelmere.

RESIDENTS will be offered 10 cents for returning eligible cans and bottles after the WA Government introduced its container deposit scheme laws into Parliament last week.

Under the scheme, expected to start in early 2020, the returned containers must be recycled or reused.

Projections show the scheme will result in 706 million fewer beverage containers littered over the next 20 years, and reduce the number of containers sent to landfill by 5.9 billion.

Premier Mark McGowan said West Australians had been supportive of a scheme and this was evident when more than 3000 people got behind the public consultation period.

“The introduction of this legislation to Parliament marks a major milestone in bringing a container deposit scheme to Western Australia,” he said.

“Not only will we be diverting waste from landfill, this scheme is likely to create as many as 500 jobs as part of the new container sorting and processing facilities, and refund points across the State.”

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he was confident the scheme would reduce litter and increase recycling.

“It will also be designed to provide business opportunities for social enterprises and help charities and community organisations raise money to fund vital community work,” he said.

However, National Toxics Network Zero Waste Oz coordinator Jane Bremmer said while the scheme was a welcome step, there was a critical lack of plastic recycling infrastructure worldwide.

“WA citizens want a more ambitious approach to addressing the scourge of plastic waste that has contaminated our environment, our oceans, our food chain and our bodies,” she said.

“While a container deposit scheme reduces litter in our environment, what happens to this plastic after it has been collected is the real question.

“Recycling plastic waste sounds good but the reality is that plastic producers have designed plastic to be difficult or impossible to recycle.

“WA has no dedicated plastic recycling facilities despite major corporate plastic polluters like Coca Cola being allowed to build massive warehouses to store products here in Hazelmere but not to provide any recycling, reuse or refilling infrastructure.”

Two Hands, a not-for-profit organisation that tackles plastic pollution, called for a ban on plastic.

“Single use plastics represent a product design failure and have no legitimate role in our world any longer and should be banned along with microbeads and other dangerous plastic threats to marine life like balloons, plastic straws and cigarette butts,” project coordinator Paul Sharp said.