Greens spokesperson for Consumer Affairs, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson welcomes the news that NSW has followed in the footsteps of the South Australia and the Northern Territory by announcing plans for a beverage container recycling refund scheme, and is calling on other states to quickly follow suit. [NB: Tasmanian specific comment at end of release]
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The recent Senate Inquiry into the scourge of marine plastics has been a turning point in the debate. The evidence presented on the horrendous environmental and health impacts of plastic bottles and other micro plastics, and the stellar success of the South Australian scheme was crystal clear.
"For the first time, a recommendation by the Senate for a national container deposit scheme achieved full cross-party support'.
“Greens candidates and parliamentary representatives along with thousands of committed community campaigners have been fighting for a national cash-for-container scheme for a generation now.
“This NSW decision will provide massive impetus for other states to follow suit. Ultimately the beverage industry will come to realise that unified national scheme is in their own best interest, rather than having a patchwork of state schemes to deal with.
“Unfortunately Greg Hunt axed the COAG environment working group and interstate cooperation on plastic issues has ground to a halt. This should have been a period in government when a national container deposit scheme and single-use plastic bag ban emerged.
“This decision puts the pressure back on Greg Hunt to regulate a ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetic and laundry products. Plastic microbeads pass through our sewerage system and into the environment where they get absorbed by plankton and shellfish, and ultimately get consumed by humans. They are dangerous and unnecessary and need to be banned now,” he concluded.
Tasmania left in the dark ages with introduction of NSW Container Deposit Scheme
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The move by NSW will undoubtedly result in less plastic pollution along the beaches of Eastern Tasmania. Litter from the east coast of the mainland washes out to sea and drifts south to plague our beaches and ocean.
“We have had a NSW Liberal Premier do more to help the plastic pollution issue in Tasmania than Will Hodgman has done.
“The waters off the coast of Eastern Tasmania are where marine plastic is having the biggest impact on endangered seabirds than anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere.
“It’s time for the state Liberals to stop their ideological opposition to a cleaner environment. Cash-for-container schemes work. They are good for the environment, good for jobs and widely supported by the community. Let’s get on with it,” he concluded.