Federal Hotel bar manager Cassie Kennedy pictured with some of the half-a-tonne of bottles that are dumped at the hotel each week.
Federal Hotel bar manager Cassie Kennedy pictured with some of the half-a-tonne of bottles that are dumped at the hotel each week. CATHY ADAMS

Ballina Mayor champions refund for recycling

IF Mick O'Conner, manager of Alstonville's Federal Hotel, could get a refund for all the glass bottles used at his establishment he would not hesitate to cash in.

“We go through about half-a-tonne of bottles each week here,” he said.

“It all gets recycled.”

While bottles, cans and plastic containers can be recycled, there is no scheme in place to encourage people to do so.

However, Ballina Shire Council Mayor Phillip Silver wants all that to change.

On Friday, Cr Silver wrote to NSW Climate Change and the Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt, and Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to urge them to consider legislating for a scheme refunding glass bottles, cans and plastic containers.

The Adelaide Bottle Company began offering refunds for soft drink and beer bottles for reuse in 1897.

However, this practice stopped when non-refillable drink containers were introduced in the 1970s.

The South Australian Parliament introduced the Beverage Container Act in 1975 to encourage recycling of containers by offering a refund.

Mr Silver said a similar scheme was needed in NSW.

In November this year Ballina Shire councillors passed a resolution to encourage the NSW and Federal governments to create such legislation.

“The motion came from new councillors,” Cr Silver said.

“We recycle plastic bottles and bags but we could do better, so why not recycle all containers?”

Cr Silver said offering money for used bottles and containers would increase recycling rates, reduce litter and save marine fauna.

“It won't be the same system as in the old days where you took a bottle back to the shop, they paid you five cents and the bottle went back to the factory and was reused,” Cr Silver said.

“They would have to be recycled.

“It would be logical for council to operate a buy-back centre at the waste facility and, once a critical mass of material is collected, it will be recycled.”

Cr Silver said there were currently no refunds for recyclable containers available in NSW.



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