New container deposit scheme would clean up waterways, create jobs
Opinion: Forty-six thousand tonnes of beverage containers are discarded into the litter stream, waterways and landfills each year. This pollutes the environment and leads to unnecessary costs for councils (and ratepayers!) and it has to stop.
A legislated Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) – a 10 cent deposit on drink bottles and cans refunded when returned for recycling – would just about eliminate the problem.
Programmes overseas show recycling rates can triple when such a programme is in place. Other significant benefits accrue as well.
In spite of all this, the National Government still needs convincing. They have long preferred a voluntary approach – taxpayer subsidised programmes run the by the beverage and packaging industry which have consistently been shown not to work.
The proposed CDS would create more than 2000 low-skill jobs in communities at no cost to Government. In the process, it would add less than 1 cent to the cost of each container.
So Kiwi Bottle Drives are going on around the country now to obtain signatures for a petition calling for the Government to enact such a scheme and to demonstrate just how the container deposit/return system would work.
Transition Matamata is organising the Matamata effort – running August 7-12 – with support from Matamata-Piako District Council, Smart Environmental, and the Kiwanis Club of Matamata. Look for The Kiwi Bottle Drive display around town during that week for a chance to sign the petition.
The bottle return will run on Saturday morning, August 12. This is a great opportunity for kids looking for a bit of pocket money and for teams and clubs wanting to fund raise.
A 10 cent refund will be paid on returns for glass and plastic beverage containers and aluminium cans. Details on the campaign will be provided to schools the week of July 24.
A legislated Container Deposit Scheme is in place in more than a dozen enlightened countries and, with them, recycling rates of 85-98 per cent are routinely achieved.
It's long past time New Zealand joined the party.
-Gord Stewart is an environmental sustainability consultant and Matamata resident.