Queensland goes green

 

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TALISA ELEY

Queensland will be hoping to turn around its woeful recycling record with a series of new environmentally-friendly law-changes next year.

From next year single-use plastic bags will be banned state-wide, with customers forced to buy thicker bags or bring their own.

South Australia, the ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania already have the scheme in place.

The change will be coupled with a Container Refund Scheme which will pay Queenslanders to recycle.

Vending machines and return points will offer 10 cents per can or bottle to customers for their empty cans and bottles.

The programs have bipartisan support and have been praised by environmental groups.

Boomerang Alliance and Wildlife Queensland’s Toby Hutcheon said the program was the most significant policy for this generation.

“Nearly a billion single-use plastic shopping bags aren’t recycled every year in Queensland, and bottles and cans dominate the litter we see in parks, beaches and public areas.

“I know this can reduce litter volumes- particularly plastic litter- by at least 50 percent,” Mr Hutcheon said.

The move has also been praised by Scouts Queensland, who will use the Container Refund Scheme as a fundraising drive.

Chief Commissioner Daryl Scott said it’s a great initiative.

“In South Australia Scouts engage with the scheme, and while doing so provide a great environment benefit,” Mr Scott said.

Queensland currently has one of the worst recycling figures in Australia- recycling just 44 percent of goods.

State Environment Minister Steve Miles said the programs have already been overwhelmingly supported by the public.

“In February feedback told us 96 percent of people were keen to see plastic bags banned in Queensland…we’ve heard them loud and clear,” Mr Miles said.

Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have already committed to introducing reusable plastic bags that customers can purchase for 15 cents each.

The ban will come into force on July 1, 2018.

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