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NSW Premier pushed on can recycling plans

Recycled drinks cans
Greenpeace has urged Mike Baird to resist Coca Cola’s and drinks firms’ lobbying to change NSW’s planned container deposit scheme (CDS).

The Australia Pacific arm of the environmental campaigning group has taken to video and social media to warn the NSW Premier that his promised “world’s best practice” container recycling system is at risk due to opposition from soft drinks companies, but singles out Coca Cola.

Coca Cola is among several major beverage companies who contributed to an alternative model to the planned CDS put forward by the Australian Food and Grocery Council industry representative on the project advisory committee. Called ‘Thirst for Good’, this aims to achieve litter reductions at a lower cost than a refund CDS model by building on existing litter reduction initiatives already being run by councils and charities.

To counter this approach, the Greenpeace video parodies a typical Coke TV adverts by showing a beach strewn with bottles and cans representing the 40 million that are littered in NSW each summer. It urges NSW residents to lobby their MPs to back the original CDS plan.

“Last year, Mr Baird committed to a world’s best-practice container deposit recycling system by 2017. Now Coke is lobbying hard to get him to break his promise by choosing its own plan, which won’t solve our enormous litter problem,” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner, Nathaniel Pelle.

“Best-practice container deposit systems are the only recycling plans proven to work. A successful system, which returns 10 cents to consumers or community groups for every bottle or can recycled, has been used in South Australia for 30 years and practically eliminated drink bottle litter.”

At least 160 million drink containers are littered in NSW every year and these make up at least 44 per cent of all litter in the state compared with only 2.2 per cent in South Australia, which has a CDS.

The NSW Government is currently inviting the public to make submissions on a suitable container recycling policy, with a decision expected in the coming months.

“We cannot have a fizzy drinks company dictating our waste policy or blocking effective solutions to a major global pollution problem,” said Pelle.

The deadline for providing feedback on the New South Wales Container Deposit Scheme Discussion Paper is 5.00pm on Friday 26 February. More details are available on the NSW Container Deposit Scheme website.

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