Marine conservationists have congratulated the Western Australian government for launching their Container Deposit Scheme today (October 1), saying it will go a long way to helping iconic marine wildlife like dolphins, turtles and whales.
Named Containers for Change, the scheme allows Western Australians to claim a 10 cent refund when they return eligible beverage containers, including drinks cans, plastic and glass bottles, to designated refund points across the State.
The scheme is designed to reduce litter, improve recycling rates and create new employment opportunities.
Australian Marine Conservation Society plastics spokesperson Shane Cucow said the scheme would have flow on benefits for the oceans and the marine wildlife that lives there.
“Any program that reduces the amount of wildlife-killing plastic in our oceans is to be celebrated,” he said.
“Plastic waste is lethal for wildlife. It is estimated that half of all seabirds and turtles have plastic in their stomachs. Scientists also think that 100,000 marine animals and millions of seabirds die each year because of plastic debris.
“We know these schemes help. Queensland’s scheme has reduced containers littered by 35%. These schemes mean less plastic bottles in our waterways and less animals killed by plastic.
“We congratulate the WA government for taking action to clean up our oceans.
Despite this historic moment, Western Australia is still playing catchup in the fight against ocean plastic pollution.
Mr Cucow said South Australia’s government was leading the way on plastic waste in Australia. Their Container Deposit Scheme has been in existence since 1977, and last month the Marshall government passed legislation that will ban single-use plastic straws, cutlery and drink stirrers in the state from early 2021.
Similar laws have been tabled in the Queensland parliament and the ACT.
“WA and New South Wales have completed public consultations that canvassed the idea of a ban on single-use plastics, but they are yet to announce their plans,” said Mr Cucow.
“We encourage them to bring legislation forward as soon as possible. Every day we wait, more animals lose their lives to plastic pollution.
“Banning single-use plastics has been shown to be incredibly popular in Queensland and South Australia. It is clear Australians want their oceans plastic free.”