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Fight to recycle

Monday, 16th April, 2012

NO DEPOSIT, NO RETURN: Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan, AO, wants container deposit legislation in place right across the nation. NO DEPOSIT, NO RETURN: Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan, AO, wants container deposit legislation in place right across the nation.

By Gayle Hogan

Environmentalist Ian Kiernan AO, OAM said it was a “damn disgrace” that some beverage companies were fighting deposit schemes for recyclable containers.

The founder of Clean Up Australia Day said he wanted to see Container Deposit Legislation introduced across Australia.

His comments come after local MP John Williams last week said he will circulate a petition for the introduction of the scheme in NSW.

Broken Hill was once the only city in the state where deposits were paid for beer bottles and cans, but SA brewers put a stop to that four years ago.

Mr Kiernan said 87 per cent of beverage containers in South Australia - where the 10 cent deposit scheme is in place - were recycled, as opposed to about 35 per cent elsewhere in Australia.

“We have fought very hard for 25 years to try and get it legislated,” Mr Kiernan told the Barrier Daily Truth.

“That’s about better resource management and our resources are finite... it’s about better energy management. It’s a hands-down winner.”

Mr Kiernan said he hoped Broken Hill won its battle to have the deposit scheme returned.

“It’s a pretty special part of the world. You don’t want to see containers littering the countryside.

“If Broken Hill is able to pressure the NSW Government and they legislate deposits, it would be a major victory. The other states would follow.”

Mr Kiernan said major beverage companies were using the threat of legal action and their financial power to fight the scheme. 

“We know that across Australia nearly 88 per cent of the country want the deposit legislation yet the beverage industry is avoiding its responsibility.

“The beverage industry has very deep pockets.

“They’re trying to destroy the deposit legislation in the Northern Territory.

“It’s just a damn disgrace, so anything I can do to support the legislation of deposits I will do.”

Mr Kiernan said drinks containers made up 40 per cent of rubbish collected on Clean Up Australia Day and that people would be more willing to recycle or collect litter if they got a return for it.

“The incentive of deposits works so well.”

SA has had the scheme for about 35 years and Mr Kiernan said it was leading the way with a range of waste management initiatives, including outlawing plastic shopping bags.

“South Australia’s a pioneering state in relation to waste issues.

“They’re on the move and other states need to follow.”

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