Cash for bottles, cans promise becomes reality within two years says Speakman

Doing their bit: Volunteers at Kurnell took to the sea and land to clean up for Clean Up Australia Day. Picture: Jane Dyson
Doing their bit: Volunteers at Kurnell took to the sea and land to clean up for Clean Up Australia Day. Picture: Jane Dyson

Environment Minister Mark Speakman says the government will keep its election promise to reduce litter by introducing a container-deposit scheme within two years.

Mr Speakman told Parliament the scheme was "a once in a generation environmental reform".

"We will be implementing this scheme by July 1, 2017," he said.

Mr Speakman said a committee had been set up "to advise on the design of a scheme that is environmentally effective and economically responsible".

The committee was headed by the Environment Protection Authority and included environment, recycling, innovation and litter reduction experts.

"Our scheme will target the 2 billion containers from drinks consumed away from home annually in NSW," Mr Speakman said.

"It will include an incentive, and reverse-vending machines.

"The committee's consultation will focus on incentives for community participation, the scope of containers to be redeemable, the involvement of local government and the recycling industry, and the location of reverse vending machines."

Mr Speakman said kerbside recycling was effective at home, but too often containers from drinks consumed away from home ended up as litter.

"Beverage containers currently account for one in three pieces of litter, polluting our beaches, our parks, our roads and our waterways," he said.

SPEAKMAN PLEDGES ACTION

Litter problem: Environment Minister Rob Stokes promotes a proposed reverse vending machine scheme to collect cans and bottles in public places, with Liberal candidates Eleni Petinos, Mark Speakman and Lee Evans. Picture: Jane Dyson

Litter problem: Environment Minister Rob Stokes promotes a proposed reverse vending machine scheme to collect cans and bottles in public places, with Liberal candidates Eleni Petinos, Mark Speakman and Lee Evans. Picture: Jane Dyson

Mark Speakman said litter was ‘‘a blight on our local environment’’, caused serious damage to marine animals and cost Australia an estimated $350 million in clean-up costs each year.

‘‘We are working closely with industry to phase out microbeads from personal-care products by 2016,’’ he said.

‘‘We are not afraid of the big reforms needed to reduce the impact of litter on our environment.’’

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