Friday 18 December 2009

Cairns glass bottle recycling deposit called for

Are you getting flatted by glass?

"There needs to be lobbying at national level to bring all the states in line with South Australia," Cairns mayor Val Schier says, if we are to see a Queensland bottle deposit scheme that has operated in South Australia for many years.

Bicycle Queensland is calling for the scheme and is combining with Planet Ark, schools, and the Queensland Conservation Council, to encourage the State Government to introduce a deposit on glass bottles.

Local environmentalist, Terry Spackman says that his son recently got a nasty gash to his foot from a broken stubby bottle while wading in the Mulgrave River at Gordonvale.

"I get furious when I visit our many natural beauty spots and find stubbys and cans that can be carried in full but not out empty," Terry Spackman says.

He says that a deposit or return fee or 10c is too low.

"50c would really keep Queensland free of discarded drink containers and help protect us from morons who are so stupid, they would brake and leave a stubby at a known swimming spot."

Geoff Holland is another local activist that is supporting a scheme for glass bottle return.

"This is to increase recycling and reduce the habit of glass bottles being left near roads," Holland says. "Bottles are prone to being smashed, and Bicycle Queensland has recently had increasing evidence of injuries to cyclists from tyre blow-out caused by glass embedded in tyres," he says.

In South Australia, where there is a 10 cent bottle deposit, there is less incidence of glass on roads and fewer injuries to cyclists, according to Bicycle Queensland.

"We encourage people to contact their local state MP to voice their support for this cycle-safe initiative," Geoff Holland says.

There is an e-petition to introduce a refund on drink containers to clean up our streets, parks and cycleways of glass and associated litter.

Mulgrave MP, Curtis Pitt says that the litter laws introduced in 2007 have made enforcing littering offences easier, particularly when litter is thrown from a vehicle.

"Before these new laws were introduced, an authorised person had to stop the vehicle, obtain the details of the person who littered and issue the infringement notice directly to that person," Pitt says.

"This had the potential to be dangerous and confrontational for the authorised person and as a consequence, very few litter infringement notices were issued since 2000. The new laws have allowed an authorised person – Environmental Protection Agency officers, local government officers and Queensland Police officers - to send an infringement notice to the registered operator of a vehicle from which a littering offence has been observed," Curtis Pitt says.

However, in relation to the glass bottle deposit scheme for Queensland, he says that Government is currently considering this option in the development of a Queensland Waste Strategy.

"A wide variety of waste avoidance programs were raised in a discussion paper, previously released for community feedback," he says. "A draft strategy will be released in coming months."

Curtis Pitt says the Environment Protection and Heritage Council, made up of all State and Territory Environment Ministers, is currently conducting an assessment of potential options for national measures – including container deposit legislation.

"This will address resource efficiency, environmental impacts and the reduction of litter from packaging wastes, such as beverage containers."

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