Victoria will get a container deposit scheme to tackle the state’s recycling and waste crisis, but not until 2023.
Premier Daniel Andrews posted to his Facebook account on Monday that the scheme would be introduced as part of a “massive overhaul of our state’s recycling industry”.
Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio also took to Facebook to announce it will be in place by 2023 but neither politician released details on what form the state-wide program will take.
“This will reduce the amount of plastic and waste that goes to landfill. It will give a second, third and fourth life to beverage containers. It will reduce litter. And it will mean businesses have an ongoing source of recycling material to turn into new products,” she said.
“This is just the first of a suite of reforms to Victoria’s recycling industry.”
Victoria is currently the only state or territory in Australia not to offer a cash-for-bottles scheme.
It has resisted calls from the public, municipal and industries bodies, the opposition and the Victorian Greens to introduce a scheme for some years.
In August last year, the Greens introduced a bill to state parliament for a 10-cent refund on bottles and cans. At the time, Ms D’Ambroisio said it was not on the government’s agenda.
“We’ve been very clear about continuing to monitor the rollout of CD schemes in other states,” she told ABC radio.
“Right now though, our focus is on developing the markets and the products that do use recyclable materials so we do have a demand for it.”
The Greens said Monday’s announcement was a direct result of their presence in parliament and called for it to be introduced as soon as possible.
“Victoria is already behind the eight ball when it comes to waste and recycling. If Dan Andrews waits another three years then our precious environment and waterways will continue to be polluted by discarded bottles and cans,” MP Ellen Sandell said.
She said the minor party had attempted to introduce a scheme on four separate occasions in the last 10 years.
“The Greens already have a bill to introduce a 10-cent refund on bottles and cans before parliament right now. There’s literally no reason for the government to delay action,” she said.
The coalition opposition earlier this month announced it was devising its own scheme as part of a policy aimed at eliminating rubbish sent to landfill by 2035.
The squeeze on recycling has been particularly acute in Victoria since processor SKM went into liquidation last year, forcing several councils to send material to landfill.