Gold Coast community groups came together in September to launch a cash for containers campaign for the Gold Coast.
The event was coordinated by Gecko and Surfrider Foundation, to support a call by Boomerang Alliance for the Gold Coast to lead the way and support container deposit legislation and to ban plastic bags.
According to Toby Hutcheon from the Boomerang Alliance, Queensland is the most littered state in Australia with plastic bottles and plastic packaging representing the bulk of that litter.
Toby was at the event to introduce people to the benefits to community organisations of collecting bottles and cans which are then redeemed at 10 cents per item.
“There are such schemes already operating in over 40 jurisdictions around the world,” Toby told Blank.
“All the evidence shows that when you have a cash for containers scheme you drastically slash litter and dramatically increase recycling of containers.”
“In South Australia for instance, they have one third less plastic litter and they’ve got a container recycling rate over 80%,” Toby said. Queensland only recycles 40% of its containers.
Toby says that a cash for containers scheme is also a boon for community organisations such as scouts and surf clubs.
“The fact is that 15% of people don’t redeem their deposits, so all those unredeemed deposits can be redeemed by other organisations and go towards their fundraising.”
Toby told us that in South Australia, Scouts have an annual income of $40 million. We asked for clarification – surely that’s not all from container deposits. “Yes, all from the container deposit scheme,” he said.
Surfrider Foundation President Greg Howell said that once the organisations in attendance at the launch were given the facts “the feeling was very positive with all requesting to join the Boomerang Alliance.”
Those organisations included Gecko, Boomerang Bags, Responsible Runners, Sea Shepherd, Intrepid Landcare, Labrador Scout Group, Nerang Girl Guides, National Service Gold Coast North, Beach Volleyball Gold Coast, Waste Angels, The Welcome Swallow and Yeskandoo.
“City of Gold Coast Council as the number one tourist destination in Australia will benefit enormously from the scheme,” Greg said. “As will all cafés and catering businesses and tourist destinations.”
“We are asking the City of Gold Coast to support our community efforts to keep our beaches clean by backing a container deposit scheme and banning plastic bags,” Toby added. “It’s good for the environment good for the community and good for local jobs.”
Find out more about Boomerang Alliance at boomerangalliance.org.au.