Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Australian Greens spokesperson for both tourism and recycling, returned from this week's 2013 Tasmanian Tourism Conference on "sustainable tourism" shocked to find the event was sponsored by Coca-Cola, a giant multinational which uses corporate lobbying power and deep pockets to block and dismantle popular "refund" or "deposit" recycling schemes, all around the world.
Today Senator Whish-Wilson has also released state-wide polling commissioned by the Greens which showed 91% of Tasmanians agree that a 10 cent deposit scheme for recycling bottled and canned drinks should be rolled out nationally.
"National container deposit legislation - CDL or 'cash for containers' - has been on the agenda in Tasmania and around the country for over a decade, and if it were not for the bad corporate behaviour of the likes of Coca-Cola we would have such a scheme operating today," said Senator Peter Whish-Wilson
"It's a dirty secret that our beaches, waterways, and roads are covered in beverage industry rubbish - it's terrible for our brand, not to mention our wildlife.
"Recently my team and I collected over 1,100 plastic bottles and cans along a 1km transect of otherwise beautiful country road in rural Tassie - that's more than one piece of rubbish per metre and we have seen even more in other areas.
"Our polling shows an overwhelming majority of Tasmanian's support national container deposit legislation - everybody knows it's good for the environment, good for our wildlife, and good for our tourism brand.
"Given Coke refuses to back this popular solution to cleaning up the filthy rubbish found all around our beautiful state I have respectfully written to the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania urging them to reconsider the sponsorship and offering my help to find a funding alternative that genuinely meets the standards of sustainability.
"Curb-side recycling or a bin network, Coke's supposed solution, will not remove the ugly beverage container rubbish from the roadways leading to our iconic tourism assets," said Robbie Kelman, spokesperson for the Boomerang Alliance, a group made up of 27 of Australia`s leading environment groups, and committed to working for zero waste in Australia.
"Our tourism industry needs a solution to this problem and I was shocked to find that Coke, the primary antagonist blocking national container deposit legislation, was allowed to sponsor a ‘sustainable tourism' conference in this State," continued Senator Whish-Wilson.
"National container deposit legislation would not only mean a cleaner Tasmania it would also support 300 full-time jobs in the State and $500 million of sustainable investment nationwide - it's a no-brainer.
"We can still beat Coke and deliver a national recycling solution in 2013," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.