20 December 2013

The National Container Deposit Scheme

This was going to be Wednesday's post, but life (and mushrooms) intervened and it was pushed onto the back burner. But I think it's too important a topic to forget about, so instead of a shopping inspired post today, let's talk finances and recycling and sustainability and being kinder to our world, all while living the Cheapskates way.

Way back in the olden days, when I was a little girl, I made my pocket money by collecting soft drink bottles and taking them to the milk bar at the top of the hill to collect the deposit.

Some weeks I'd have a lot of bottles and be really rich. Those were the weeks we had 20c bags of lollies. Other weeks I might only have one or two bottles so I tested the patience of the kind man in the milk bar and deliberated over which 2 for a cent lollies I'd have. The green glass Coke bottles were prized, they had a bigger deposit on them and so to find one or more really gave my pocket money a boost.

And then for some reason, a bright spark somewhere decided that once soft drinks moved to plastic bottles there was no need for the deposit refund scheme anymore and stopped it.

In 1977 South Australia brought it back. Since then plastic bottles have dropped off the Top 5 Most Common Types of Rubbish collected on Clean Up Australia Day in South Aus. South Australians are beating the national average for recycling bottles by around 74%! South Australians are the best recyclers overall, with an 83% recycling rate, twice the national average! Way to go Crow-eaters!

Territorians are to be congratulated too. In the year or so since they've had a CDS (container deposit scheme) they have trebled recycling rates up to 67%!

So why isn't this scheme national? Why aren't we all paying a refundable deposit and then getting it back (or letting the kids collect the bottles for pocket money) to lift recycling rates and clean up our landfill, waterways and country?

Well it seems that even though this scheme has community support and government support, Coca Cola and Schweppes don't want it. These companies don't want to be responsible for cleaning up, or at least helping to clean up, the mess they are partly responsible for creating.

So much so that they even took the Northern Territory to court to have their deposit scheme banned.

This bemuses me. I just recently watched a documentary about how Coca Cola in the Middle East collects and recycles it's bottles and lids in what is supposed to be an environmentally bottling plant (and I am sorry, but I can't remember the name of the doco or find it, but I'll keep on searching and update when I find it).

Coca Cola Amatil doesn't want a CD, national or otherwise (I believe because it will affect their profits, albeit in a very small way).

Too bad I say. I don't drink the stuff, can't stand it, and we rarely have it or other bought soft drink in the house.

Anything that encourages recycling, cleans up landfill (and this scheme would stop around 740,000 tonnes of empty plastic bottles going to landfill each year), cleans up litter (it's predicted to bring about around a 15% drop in litter) and raise government revenue (to the tune of around $90 million - not to be sneezed at especially in light of our current deficit) can only be a good thing.

Coca Cola, Schweppes, Lion and any other manufacturer who doesn't want this scheme can suck it up. They are as much a part of the problem as their customers; they too have a responsibility to be a part of the solution.

If you'd like to read more about this scheme try these links:

What is a Container Deposit Scheme?

Tasmanian councils harden push for container deposit scheme

National Container Deposit Scheme

Container deposit scheme back on full-bottle track

National container deposit scheme crushed by Australian Senate

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