Green groups rubbish recycling delay
Waste crusader Ian Kiernan is angered that commonwealth and state leaders keep dithering on a national "cash for cans" style recycling scheme.
The Clean Up Australia Day founder is astonished at the reluctance to broaden a scheme that sees 88 per cent of cans and bottles recycled in South Australia, compared to 35 per cent in the rest of the country.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke on Thursday met with his state counterparts as part of the Environment Protection and Heritage Council, which has been considering the issue since April 2008.
The council in July agreed to issue a regulatory impact statement (RIS) on a so-called container deposit scheme. Then-federal environment minister Peter Garrett said he hoped the process would take less than a year.
But it was decided on Thursday the statement - which will look at ways to reduce not only drink container litter - would be released by the end of 2011.
Mr Burke said there would be also be a stakeholder workshop early in December to raise issues and options for the RIS.
Mr Kiernan said the lack of federal leadership on the issue had seen one jurisdiction, the Northern Territory, forced to act alone.
"We know through our research that 88 per cent of Australians want it, but it's also industry avoiding their responsibility," he said.
"They sell us the beverage and the packaging and it's up to us to deal with the problem left behind.
"Well that's no longer acceptable globally, we are dragging our feet in the shadow of the other OECD nations."
Mr Kiernan was outraged when one minister, who he would not name, said the scheme was a "trifling" issue in the bigger environmental picture.
"Our resources aren't finite," he said.
"Plastic is made from oil, so if we are using plastic bottles once and sending them to landfill, we are squandering our oil reserves.
"What we have got to realise in our changing world is that we have got to change."
Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam is also frustrated by the stalling, which sees nine million recyclable containers go to landfill each day Australia is without a national scheme.
"Do we really need another 14 months to think about this?" he said.
"After a Senate inquiry and numerous government reports showing support for the scheme, there's no need for further delay."
The Greens have legislation in the Senate to introduce a national container deposit scheme and say they will act where the government will not.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald - www.smh.com.au