Wednesday, July 02, 2008

more haste on waste

Today I spoke at the Inquiry into the Management of Australia's Waste Streams held by the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and Arts. The Inquiry is seeking feedback on a number of issues including the introduction of Container Deposit Legislation (CDL).

The Shire of Yarra Ranges was invited to submit at the hearing following on from our written submission to the senate committee. I have pursued the issue of CDL for some time which I’m pleased to say resulted in council supporting CDL at a meeting earlier this year.


During the 30 minute submission I outlined the basis for council supporting the introduction of CDL. I also highlighted to the Senators the importance of a mandatory approach to a broad based container/packaging recovery scheme. I went on to talk about Vision 2020, the community and council's shared vision for Yarra Ranges and how the move to a zero waste society was one of the aspirations of the Yarra Ranges community. The Senators were very interested and asked many questions to gain a local government perspective.

Senators showed a great interest in data Yarra Ranges presented on waste to landfill, particularly latest data showing 15% of recyclable material still ends up as landfill. Of this 58% is plastics, glass, steel and aluminium, the rest being newspaper and paper based products. We clearly have more work to do to achieve 100% return rate on recyclables.

Introduction of national container deposit legislation is well overdue, experience in South Australia is clear, their recycling rates for PET bottles, glass and cans far exceed the national rates. I will continue to advocate for CDL, a National Packaging Covenant that’s mandatory and Extended Producer Responsibility, all of which would run in parallel with current council kerbside recycling services.

I have no doubt a legislated, mandatory broad based packaging and recovery scheme would reduce unsightly and dangerous litter in our environment. At the same time increasing recycling will save both energy and raw materials used in the production of packaging. There are many positive benefits to the community, the environment, government and industry.

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At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Samantha,
I suggest a minimum 20 cent CD refund would be more effective. In walking recently alongside Chum Creek Road between Chum Creek and Toolangi, well beyond the residential area, I was dismayed at the density of food and drink containers that had obviously been thrown from passing car windows.
At the time I wondered if a one dollar refund might be in order, as I believe litterbugs will only respond to their hip pockets.

At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WEll done Samantha! I remember the days when the RRR statutory body in Victoria was about to introduce a refund system similar to SA. Gues what happened? The plastic industry lobied and succeeeded for a new body be formed with a new title. (similar but more sofT)
As of consequence, recycling was chuked out the window.
Great effort Samantha.
Rob Monbulk

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

Hi Lorraine
At the Senate Inquiry, Peter Cook from AFROCAB spoke about the very same issue, he had done an audit of rubbish along roadsides in SA and Vic. He found 170 beverage containers per kilometre on some Victoria roads, in comparison to 7 beverage containers per kilometre on South Australian roads.

AFROCAB also conducted a newspoll on the likelihood of people returning containers for a refund and found that 80% of people thought they'd return a container for a 5 cent deposit, 97% for 10 cents and a whopping 99% for a 20 cent refund.

Cheers, Samantha

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

Hi Rob
I listened to AMCOR at the Senate Inquiry, who were very resistant to the introduction of national container deposit legislation, on the basis of economic issues and questions around the viability of CDL.

When Senator Fielding asked AMCOR if they thought the system should be dismantled in South Australia, they were backed into a corner and said it should be dismantled. This is in spite of overwhelming statistics to support its success.

Industry have a lot of money and resources to lobby against this. We all must stick together to do as much as we can to see this legislation pass through and become law.

Cheers, Samantha

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

You stated, "
I presented to the Senate Committee on behalf of council and included the results of a waste audit for the Melbourne metropolitan region, a staggering 15% of recyclable materials were finding their way to landfill, "

That means that a staggering 85% are recycled. Adding 10c per container will add about $70 in expense to every man, woman and child in this stare. An average of about $300 per year per family.

To the 85% of us this is most unfair! The policy penalizes that that are doing the right thing and recycling!

There must be a better way to convince the minority 15% who do not recycle.


Mario Galteri

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

Hi Mario

Just to clarify 15% of total waste collected was recyclable, the other 85% was non recyclable waste.

If you choose not to claim your 10cent refund there is a cost to you but if you choose to claim your 10cent refund there is no net cost to you.

I am not sure how you calculate $300 per family, this actually equates to 3000 beverage containers a year, or 57 containers a week.

CDL has great benefits to capture beverage containers that aren't part of the recyclable waste stream currently. This means less litter in our environment, money in the hands of whoever claims the refund (this could be your local scout group, a restauranteur, a householder) and less new resources needed to make new packaging as there is more recyclables available in the market place.


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