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Report reveals extent of ACTís waste problems

Media Release - 16 February, 2009

Over 20 tonnes of beverage container related rubbish was found in the ACT’s environment during last year’s Clean Up Australia Day, highlighting the need for a container refund scheme to improve recycling rates, Clean Up Australia Chairman Ian Kiernan AO said today at the release of the 2008 Clean Up Australia Day Rubbish Report.

The report also reveals that over 20 per cent of rubbish collected in the state’s environment could have been recycled through normal kerbside collections.

Beverage related rubbish including bottle caps, plastic and glass bottles and labels, made up a significant part of the 160 tonnes of rubbish collected by more than 18,400 volunteers at 80 sites across the state during the 2008 Clean Up Australia Day.

Mr Kiernan said while household recycling systems are quite successful, the figures highlight the importance of improving recycling schemes away from the home and pointed to South Australia’s container deposit scheme as an example of a successful model.

“South Australia has the lowest state percentage of beverage related rubbish found. In many other states, beverage related rubbish makes up a significant proportion of rubbish found in the environment, almost half in some states” Mr Kiernan said.

“Consumer behaviour needs to improve but government and industries need to share responsibility for tackling the waste created away from the home where kerbside recycling already operates effectively.

“Roadways in the ACT are an area of particular concern with an average of more than 2000 items of rubbish collected from each of the territory’s roadway sites. That’s about 5 times the number of items collected from the second most polluted sites, rivers and creeks.”  

“Everyone in the ACT can take matters into their own hands on Sunday 1 March by getting involved in Clean Up Australia Day and helping to clean up their local environment.

Mr Kiernan also referred to the 2009 Clean Up Australia Day TV advertising campaign today, which poses the question to the public – If you don’t help Clean Up Australia, who will?

The advertisement, production of which was almost entirely donated by industry professionals concerned about the future of the environment, is being shown as a community service announcement on major networks.

Clean Up Australia Day has been made possible through the support of major sponsors: McDonald's, Veolia Environnement and Commonwealth Bank, sponsors: Sanyo, suppliers: Pro Safety Gear, Qantas, Shop-A-Docket and Stockland.

Anyone can still register a Clean Up site by visiting www.cleanup.org.au or by calling 1800 CUAD DAY (1800 282 329).

Copies of the broadcast quality TV community service announcement are available on request.

Further information or interviews: Alana Mew, 0423 377 567