According to the Boomerang Alliance, Queensland is the most littered state in Australia with plastic bottles and plastic packaging representing the bulk of that litter.
The rising tide of plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans is causing increasing worldwide concern with recent research by the CSIRO finding that three quarters of the rubbish along Australia’s coast is plastic.
You already know the impact that plastic debris has on our environment. It pollutes waterways and wilderness areas. It breaks up into small particles. It enters the marine and human food chain. It’s ingested by marine animals. And by humans.
5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in the world’s oceans. Hundreds of thousands of marine animals are killed every year as a result. It is estimated that globally over 1 million sea birds and over 100,000 mammals die every year as a result of plastics – and that’s just sea birds and mammals.
But the Boomerang Alliance believes a cash for containers scheme that applies refundable deposits on all beverage containers will be the solution. Toby Hutcheon, the Alliance’s Queensland Manager says it’s a proven approach to reducing beverage container litter.
“There are such schemes already operating in over 40 jurisdictions around the world,” Toby said.
Tomorrow, Toby will be at Broadbeach to call on the City of Gold Coast and local Members of Parliament to support the community in their efforts to stop litter and plastic pollution.
“All the evidence shows that when you have a cash for containers scheme you drastically slash litter and dramatically increase recycling of containers,” he told Blank GC.
“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, which is regarded as the most littered state, has a container recycling rate below 40%.”
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 that all those unredeemed deposits can be redeemed by other organisations and go towards their fundraising.”
Toby told me that in South Australia, Scouts have an annual income of $40 million. I ask for clarification – surely that’s not all from container deposits. “Yes, all from the container deposit scheme,” he said.
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The launch of the Gold Coast campaign for a cash for containers scheme is being held at Kurrawa Beach from 12.30 pm on Saturday 5 September. It coincides with a spring clean of Kurrawa Beach and is being supported by Gecko – Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council as well as the local branch of the Surfrider Foundation.