Greens Waste and Recycling spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has welcomed the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation’s (APCO) report released today highlighting the potential for container deposit schemes to improve recycling performance.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “Almost two years after China stopped taking Australia’s low-quality waste, Australia is still caught up in a national major recycling crisis and Victoria is now sending its recycled waste to landfill.”

The APCO report released today states:

“Increasing the proportion of glass packaging waste collected via container deposit schemes is expected to improve the quality of the stream and significantly increase the quantity available for bottle-to-bottle recycling. This collection channel avoids the significant losses associated with kerbside collection because the handling is gentler (including in some cases manual sorting into colour streams) and losses at the [material recovery facilities] owing to fracturing are minimised. There are also benefits for other material streams, especially paper.”

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The evidence is out there that container deposit schemes are crucial to a healthy recycling system, and would help end Australia’s recycling crisis, but still both the Victorian and Tasmanian Governments remain opposed to them.

“Container deposit schemes are a massive benefit that would reduce the plastic pollution that is choking our oceans, improve recycling, create jobs and return money to individuals and community groups.

“Victorians and Tasmanians should be horrified at the environmental and economic inaction of their state governments.”

A Senate inquiry in 2016 into the threat of marine plastic pollution in Australia recommended a national container deposit scheme and added that if all states and territories hadn’t introduced container deposit scheme legislation by 2020, the Federal Government should revisit the issue with the view to developing legislation for those jurisdictions.

“The state governments would be foolish to ignore this recommendation, particularly when tonnes of Victorian recycling is headed straight to landfill right now. If Victoria wasn’t so opposed to a container deposit scheme, its kerbside recycling may not be under so much pressure.

“The Greens strongly encourage both the Tasmanian Premier and the Victorian Premier to reconsider their opposition to a container deposit scheme in their states. The cost to the Australian environment is just too great.”