It's time for drink container deposits in NSW

Tomorrow, Cate Faerhmann from the Greens and I will give Parliament notice of our bill for a container deposit scheme in NSW.
Announcing our container deposit scheme bill.

The bill would add a 10 cent levy on beverage containers that would be refunded when presented for recycling.

In Parliament, I have repeatedly urged the State Government to support a container deposit levy like South Australia's scheme, which has achieved recycling rates of up to 90 per cent. I have submitted petitions, asked questions and given speeches, and will continue to push for waste reform.

The City recently made a submission to the Australian Government Standing Council on Environment and Water, setting out the case for a national beverage container deposit scheme. The submission was in response to a Packaging Waste Impacts Consultation Regulation Impact Study. The City's Interim Waste Strategy, endorsed by Council in February 2012, also called for container deposit legislation.

In NSW only about 42 per cent of bottles and cans are recycled because most drinks are consumed away from home. Public recycling bins become contaminated, forcing the recyclables to be diverted to landfill.

Sydney sends about two million tonnes of waste to landfill every year and all our tips could be full by as early as 2017. The NSW municipal waste recycling target is 66 per cent and we're only achieving 44 per cent and Australia is far from meeting its 2010 packaging recycling target of 65 per cent.

Worldwide, deposit schemes have increased beverage recycling rates to about 80 per cent, in some cases as high as 90 per cent.

Container deposit schemes cut council costs because councils deal with less waste and recycling meaning fewer truck movements, less sorting and less litter. Recycling collection depots create new ways to deal with other waste like e-waste and chemicals.

While a national scheme is preferable the situation is urgent and NSW must not lag further behind. The Northern Territory scheme began last year and South Australia has had one since 1975 and all polls show there is strong community support.

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