Recyclers commit initial $660,000 to Keep Australia Beautiful, alternative to a container deposit national scheme

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th June 2012

During May 2012, Keep Australia Beautiful in Tasmania and the Northern Territory, and the NevRwaste group of councils in Victoria, launched three pilot recycling and litter reduction programs, funded by an industry investment of $660,000 through the National Bin Network.

The programs are part of the National Bin Network, a $100 million, five-year industry-funded plan to increase recycling and reduce litter nationally, and are part of the campaign to provide a better alternative to a container deposit scheme.  The National Bin Network is being fully funded by industry including Visy, Coca-Cola Amatil, Schweppes, and others in the Packaging Stewardship Forum.

In an interview today with Australian Food News, the chairman of the Keep Australia Beautiful Council, Don Chambers, said, “After 15 months of negotiations with people from the beverage industry, we had companies asking, ‘What sort of money do you need?’”

Mr Chambers said he hoped the wider packaging industry would soon be involved. He said, “I believe very strongly that there are many members of the Australia Food and Grocery Council sitting back and watching what government is going to do.”

With additional financial support from the wider packaging industry, Mr Chambers said the Keep Australia Beautiful Council would launch pilot programs in every state, not just Tasmania and the Northern Territory. Mr Chambers said, “Sometimes I’m asked, ‘Why are you working with the industry?’ Because they’re part of the solution. You cannot vilify them.”

Under the pilot, the Keep Australia Beautiful Council in Tasmania and the Northern Territory and the NevRwaste group of councils in North East Victoria, will deliver litter reduction and recycling programs by working with local community groups to identify and clean up litter hot spots and with local government and private property owners to install new recycling bins in retail shopping areas, pubs and clubs, sporting facilities, entertainment venues and transport hubs.

Part of the pilot programs is education.  Mr Chambers said, “We have to teach people to take responsibility – we cannot blame manufacturers and governments. We must take personal responsibility by doing the right thing and recycling, especially when we’re away from home.”

The Council of Australian Governments Standing Council on Environment and Water is currently reviewing the different recycling approaches of the National Bin Network, and a range of other measures, including container deposit systems. This is all part of a national review of packaging waste policy to cover all packaging materials in the recycling and litter streams.

As Australian Food News has reported, there are two major industry groupings competing in the Australian recycling market: those who have been supportive of container deposit systems like those in South Australia (and the Northern Territory), against those who support existing bin placement schemes such as the National Bin Network.