A truck offloaded about 15,000 cans onto Martin Place this morning in a dramatic demonstration of the need for refunds on bottles and cans.
That's how many drink containers Australians throw away each minute - with 12 billion drink bottles and cans consumed a year, and only half recycled.
The event was organised by the Boomerang Alliance of environment groups, with support from the City of Sydney, the Local Government Association and Clean Up Australia, as part of a growing push for a national container deposit scheme.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who attended the event, said governments need to act now to make a reduce waste and protect wildlife and the environment from plastic pollution.
"South Australia's scheme has achieved recycling rates of up to 90 per cent, way ahead of NSW," the Lord Mayor said.
"People know container deposit schemes work - it's time our state and federal governments took action."
State and federal governments meeting at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) are considering options for a national container deposit scheme and will release a shortlist later this year.
The City made a submission to COAG last year calling for a national beverage container deposit scheme.
Australians use 12 billion drink bottles and cans each year and only half are recycled.
In NSW, only about 42 per cent of bottles and cans are recycled, half the rate in South Australia. Broken glass bottles cause 40,000 injuries in Australia annually, with 5,000 needing medical treatment.
A container deposit scheme could save NSW councils between $23 million and $62 million in recycling costs, according to a study last year by the NSW Local Government and Shires Association (now Local Government NSW).
The Boomerang Alliance includes 26 state and national environment groups and promotes a zero waste society. The alliance is proposing community events in Sydney, Wollongong, Moss Vale, Goulburn and Canberra to raise public awareness of the need for container deposit legislation.
For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Matt Levinson 0427 044 768 or firstname.lastname@example.org