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WASTE ISSUES MOUNT UP AHEAD OF ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS’ MEETING

Waste issues mount up ahead of Environment Ministers’ meeting

Media Release - 21 May 2009

Environment Ministers from each state and territory have the opportunity to dramatically increase recycling rates in Australia when they meet with Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett tomorrow by agreeing to both a national plastic bag ban and the introduction of national container refund scheme.

Both issues will be on the table when the ministers meet at the Environmental Protection and Heritage Council meeting in Hobart tomorrow, Friday 22 May.

Clean Up Australia Chairman Ian Kiernan AO today urged the ministers to act in the interest of the public and introduce both schemes nationally.

“South Australia has taken the lead on both issues by introducing a plastic bag ban and doubling deposits within their container deposit scheme. There is an historic opportunity on Friday in Hobart for all states and territories to take a leaf out of the SA book and act in the national interest to address environmental issues that really should have been properly dealt with decades ago,” Mr Kiernan said.

An opinion poll conducted by Clean Up Australia in March found that 88 per cent of Australians support the introduction of a national recycling scheme that involved a 10-cent refund on drink cans and bottles.

“Beverage containers make up a large proportion of the rubbish volunteers find dumped in the natural environment on Clean Up Australia Day each year – almost 50 per cent in some states, while in South Australia where a refund scheme is already in place that figure is closer to 10 per cent.

“It’s time the government stood up and starting taking action on these critical environmental issues.”

“In the nine years since the government first resolved to take action on plastic bags 180,000 tonnes of plastic bags have either ended up in landfill or as rubbish in our environment. That’s enough plastic to fill the MCG more than three times.

“Almost 4 billion plastic bags are still being produced for Australian use every year. The rubbish problem they create, the detriment they cause to kerbside recycling systems and the resources and energy used to produce them are something that cannot be justified.

“There’s a simple solution to the problem – ban plastic bags nationally.”


For further information contact Alana Mew, 0423 377 567


 
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