Crikey Clarifier

Jun 1, 2012

Crikey Clarifier: would a national 10c cash-for-trash scheme work?

It looks like state and federal governments will not be binning plans for more cash-for-containers schemes, with Tony Burke announcing support for a national program. Aicha Marhfour examines how a scheme would work.

It looks like state and federal governments will not be binning plans for more cash-for-containers schemes, with Environment Minister Tony Burke announcing support for a national program and bills being recently tabled by the Greens in NSW and Tasmania for state initiatives.

The plan is to boost flagging recycling rates by offering consumers 10c a bottle for their empties, mimicking programs currently underway in South Australia and Northern Territory. But industry lobby groups and unions have presented a united front against plans, with the Australian Food and Grocery Council claiming it would effectively be “a tax on drinks”.

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7 thoughts on “Crikey Clarifier: would a national 10c cash-for-trash scheme work?

  1. Clytie

    When you live in SA, it’s hard to imagine that other states don’t have a drinks container rebate. It’s easy and it works. Kids can make money collecting cans and bottles, as can community groups. There is much less litter and waste. When you cross the Victorian border, leaving South Australia, you notice the difference immediately: on the SA side there is hardly any litter, and on the Vic side there’s litter everywhere, cans and bottles thrown out of cars.

    The drink-container rebate is like other positive changes. You’re putting in a little bit of effort to improve your community, and the big corporations can stop complaining and refer back to their “social and environmental responsibility” statements on their websites. This won’t cost anybody much, and it will help.

  2. zut alors

    ‘…it would effectively be “a tax on drinks”.’

    So what? People will still pay for the sugary dross produced by the drink manufacturers, no sales will be sacrificed.

    When I relocated from South Australia to Queensland I noticed a marked increase in litter. After the match at footy grounds in SA, the kids move in like soldier ants and scavenge every drink container into large plastic bags – ideal pocket money, earned honestly.

    It looks like Abbott’s negativity is catching and crossing all ventures.

  3. drsmithy

    When I was living in Switzerland, they had a good system, though it would be difficult to implement here:

    You pay a few dollars per bag of general rubbish – collected by either placing stickers on the bag or by buying “prepaid” bags – but recyclable items will be disposed of for free.

  4. Edward James

    Bring back deposits on bottles nationally and include aluminium cans, a deposit which can be collected by anyone who returns them is such a small price to reduce some of the litter! Edward James

  5. AR

    Given that commercial containers, not just cans & bottles but packets and the ubiquitous supamart carrier bags, are also branded advertising vehicles, all unrecycled items should be double charged to the producer.

  6. Sandifeet

    One of the best recycling schemes exisits in Denmark where you buy a crate of 24 beer bottles & payment includes the cost of the crate. When the bottles are empty you return to any outlet where the crate of empty bottles in put into a machine which issues a credit note. You then purchase another crate of full bottles but with the credit note you are only paying for the beer inside this time! The returned empty bottles are sterilised & refilled, each bottle being used on average 30 times!!

    I heard a podcast from BBC a few years ago where the C Cola bloke was squirming when asked why his huge company will not offer return deposits &/or reuse the bottles?

  7. The Derr Factor

    In the 60’s in Melbourne there was a bottle recycling scheme and it was a normal part of life. The scout groups did ‘Bottle Drives’ to raise money, collecting the dozens and dozens of empties that would typically accumulate in the average home. Mostly beer bottles. Soft drink bottles were cashed in at the milk bar. I reckon it’s just simply Derr!

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