Marine conservationists have welcomed news that a container deposit scheme will be introduced in Victoria, while raising concerns the scheme is not enough on its own.
Victoria has been the only state in Australia without such a scheme or even a plan to introduce one, said the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) plastics spokesperson Shane Cucow.
The program will encourage Victorians and businesses to deposit plastic drinks bottles, cans and cartons at collection points, with previously leaked details indicating they will receive a 10c refund per container – consistent with other states and territories.
“We are delighted that Victoria will join the rest of Australia, rewarding businesses and communities who help keep the scourge of plastic pollution away from our oceans,” Mr Cucow said.
“Australians treasure our beautiful beaches and iconic marine life, and are sick of seeing killer plastics everywhere they go. Container deposit schemes are proven to reduce the flow of plastic into our oceans, saving animal lives.
“Plastic bottles and lids are the third most commonly found item in Australian clean up surveys. Bottle lids in particular are one of the most harmful to marine creatures like our turtles and seabirds, who see them as food.
Not enough on its own to save Australia’s ocean wildlife
“Recycling isn’t enough to stem the flow of plastic on its own. With alternatives available that don’t kill our wildlife, we need the Victorian government to join South Australia, Queensland and the ACT by committing to banning single-use plastics like straws, cutlery and fruit or veggie bags as a priority.”
Mr Cucow also expressed concern the scheme would be too little, too late. Victoria’s Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has announced the Victorian scheme will not be operational until 2023. With container deposit schemes up and running in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, South Australia and the Northern Territory, and due to begin in Western Australia in June and Tasmania by 2022, Mr Cucow said Victoria was still lagging behind.
“With the equivalent of a rubbish truck worth of plastic flowing into our oceans every minute, our wildlife cannot wait. We urge Victorian policy makers to get on with the container deposit scheme now, and act fast to introduce a ban on single use plastics,” he said.
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