Thursday, 12th April, 2012
By Gayle Hogan
Local MP John Williams is starting a petition to have deposits for recyclable containers introduced to New South Wales.
Broken Hill was once the only city in the State to have deposits for beer cans and bottles because South Australian brewers used to accept them but they pulled the plug on the local scheme four years ago.
The Member for Murray-Darling said yesterday he had been fighting a “one man battle in Parliament” to have a Container Deposit Legislation Scheme introduced.
He said the scheme would provide a rebate for all glass bottles, cans, plastic bottles and maybe even cardboard.
“I’m an absolute advocate for it,” Mr Williams told the BDT.
He said he had encountered opposition from the Packaging Stewards Forum which was telling politicians that kerbside recycling was the way to go because it reduced landfill.
“I can say that I see plenty of evidence in the city where it’s not working,” Mr Williams said of kerbside collection.
“I’ve got to say until they put some value on those recyclable products they aren’t going to do anything about it.”
Mr Williams said he was working with a member of the Greens Party to distribute a petition in the electorate to collect 10,000 signatures.
“If we get 10,000 names it allows us to debate it in Parliament.
“The petition will be distributed early next week and it will be available in various locations throughout Broken Hill.
“The general public is encouraged to sign the petition and if anyone is interested in collecting signatures, please contact my Broken Hill office.”
City Council has been trying for years to get the rebate scheme reintroduced.
“We’ve been unrelenting in our submissions for the scheme for both state and federal government” said Council’s Manager of Sustainability, Peter Oldsen.
Councillor Tom Kennedy also backs the effort.
“We’re on the border and we’ve seen the effects of having one and not having one,” Clr Kennedy told last month’s Council meeting.
Channing’s Bottle Yard owner, Angela Channing, said that since SA stopped accepting most of the city’s beer bottles and cans in 2008, local recycling had dropped away.
“There’s been a significant decline in the beer products,” Mrs Channing said.
“They were a big part of our recyclables.”
People were no longer getting as much return and as a result the yard has had to cut its operating hours and staff numbers.
Mrs Channing said clubs, pubs and charities had also suffered a loss of revenue and more bottles were going to the dump.
“They would have bought them all to the bottle yard, that’s for sure, because they were worth something.
“We do offer out at the tip a recycling area for all bottles and cans... people don’t use it,” Mrs Channing said.
She said she wanted to see the deposit scheme extended across the nation.
“People would be much more recycle-savvy if they were getting that little bit more for it.”
Deposits returns are still paid for most soft drink, some alcopop and foreign beer bottles and cans, and market value is paid for glass and aluminum.
In their monthly report, Labor Councillors Marion Browne, Neville Gasmier and Darriea Turley said Council was in a better position than other local government areas in NSW because it knew just how well the container deposit scheme worked.
“Since locals have been unable to recoup their 10 cents on most bottled drinks bought in the city, the amount going to landfill has increased very significantly,” they said in their report.
“It is very frustrating that governments still cannot bite the bullet and pass such legislation.”