Vinnies supports Tasmania’s first statewide Container Refund Scheme.

The Tasmanian Government has tabled its long-awaited Bill to establish Tasmania’s first Container Refund Scheme (CRS). If enacted, the CRS will reduce litter, increase recycling, and create opportunities for businesses, charities, and community organisations across Tasmania.

Speaking about the proposed legislation, St Vincent de Paul Society CEO, Lara Alexander, said she is very pleased that the Tasmanian Government has introducing the CRS legislation into parliament; and that she hoped it will receive cross-party and upper-house support.

“After a challenging two years, the not for profit sector and community groups desperately need the income from the CRS to support their social activities,” Mrs Alexander said.

“The model selected by the Tasmanian Government is, by far, the most effective and efficient way to turn single use plastic containers and beverage cans into much-needed revenue for community groups and charities.

“Our St Vincent de Paul Society counterparts in NSW have been involved with a similar CRS for five years, which has realised around $5m per annum for Vinnies NSW, all of which goes to helping the neediest.

“In Tasmania, we use around 310 million single use plastic containers, of which 62% ends up as litter or landfill. This represents almost 200m single use plastic containers, which are not being recycled but littering and polluting our land and waterways; often maiming and killing wildlife.

“On top of this staggering number, there are literally millions of beverage cans that could be recycled but end up in landfill too.

“The Society is encouraging every Tasmanian to support the CRS which, if they choose to donate their refund to Vinnies, will assist the most vulnerable people in our community.

“The profit-sharing model proposed by the Tasmanian Government will most benefit community groups and charities. It is the only viable option for a CRS in Tasmania. Charities here do not have the multi-million dollars cash reserves required to establish processing facilities across the state. Building, running, and maintaining a recycling plant is best left to professionals so community groups can concentrate on their core activities – building better communities and assisting the most vulnerable in our society.

The Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Roger Jaensch, said that like all schemes currently in operation across Australia, ours will be based on product stewardship principles, where the costs of the scheme are built into the sale price of each container.

“We also know how critical Tasmania’s community will be to the success of Tasmania’s CRS and we are committed to maximising opportunities for Tasmanian charities and community groups to benefit from the Scheme,” Minister Jaensch said.

“That’s why we are providing a way for all Tasmanian charities and community groups to register for a Refund Account so members of the public can donate their container refunds directly to the charity or community group of their choice – making it easy for all Tasmanians to do their bit for their community and their environment, at the same time,” he added.

The draft Bill was released for public consultation earlier this year, with over 3,500 people responding and 98 per cent of survey respondents supportive of a scheme.

MEDIA NOTES: The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Paris, France in 1833 by a 20-year old Italian student, Frederic Ozanam. Today, the Society operates in 153 countries and has over 800,000 members. Australia has over 60,000 members, dedicated to assisting people in need and combating social injustice. The Society started in Tasmania in 1899 when founders established a Conference in Launceston. From humble beginnings, the Society has grown to 25 Conferences within three Regional Councils across Tasmania. Each Conference undertake a variety of good works, the most recognised being the traditional Vincentian home visits and the annual CEO Sleep-out to draw attention to homelessness.

Media contact, Mark Wells: +61 414 015 966 (24-hours)
© St Vincent de Paul Society and MWPA.

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