After a long campaign, Queensland will finally get a cash for containers scheme. Which leaves one question yet to be answered. What the hell took so long?
Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection The Honourable Steven Miles made the announcement today with the Palaszczuk Government confirming the litter-busting initiative will start in 2018.
Queensland and NSW (which also announced a container deposit scheme recently) are also already in talks about setting up a single administrator for the scheme which is good news for border towns like the Gold Coast.
“We want a seamless system that’s good for the environment and friendly for business. No one wants an outcome where the rules that apply to a bottle of soft drink sold at Tweed Heads, are different to the one you buy at the Gold Coast,” Dr Miles said.
Dr Miles said his Party had “committed to investigate a cash for containers-style scheme at the last election, because litter is a real concern for so many Queenslanders.”
Queensland has one of the lowest recycling rates in the country yet a 2015 NewsPoll showed 86 per cent of Queenslanders wanted a container deposit scheme.
“South Australia has had a similar scheme since the 1970s, the Northern Territory introduced one in 2011 and New South Wales will introduce their scheme next year,” Dr Miles said.
National Litter Index figures show that Queensland continues to be the most littered mainland state in Australia, so the announcement was welcomed by recycling advocacy group, Boomerang Alliance.
Queensland Manager for Boomerang Alliance, Toby Hutcheon said that in Queensland, more than 2.4 billion bottles and cans are used every year.
“Most of these are wasted in landfill or littered,” Toby said.
“In South Australia, which has a Container Deposit Scheme, over 80 per cent of bottles and cans are recycled.”
Container Deposit Schemes operate in over 40 jurisdictions around the world, are proven to slash litter rates, dramatically increase recycling, create hundreds of jobs in collection and re-processing and provide a financial boost to community organisations.
“It is estimated that community organisation in Queensland could share in over $25 million every year from deposits and handling fees,’’ Toby said.
But the work for environment groups doesn’t stop now. Toby said Boomerang Alliance already has its sights set on their next target.
“Now that we have NSW and Queensland on the way – we can focus our work into Victoria,” he said, “so that an eastern seaboard cash for containers scheme becomes a reality.”