A deposit on beverage Containers or a Rubbish Tip?

The littering of Australia seems to have gotten much worse. For a few years there was a real effort to keep our rubbish away from public areas. This was due mainly to the efforts of Ian Kiernan. Are we well on the way of turning Australian States again into giant rubbish tips?

Is there a revival of chucking things out of our cars? If not, how come our highways are so rubbish strewn?  Are we back to carefully looking into the rear mirror before we heave-ho the take away remnants of our eating and drinking habits while driving. Do we, after the last swig of the soft drink chuck the empty bottle into the Grevillia Bottle Brushes or Banksias as well?

Surprisingly, once a year, there is kind of reverse chucking of rubbish. Mum, dad and the kids, mostly on week-ends, forego the pick-nick and Sunday drive to spend the day collecting the previously chucked out rubbish. It’s a much applauded cultural event, a celebration almost on par with Australia day.

The TV News shows all those lovely kids, mums and dads going along bush tracks and beaches collecting hessian bagfuls of bottles and cans, all sorts of rubbish. We all end up going to bed feeling all is well and we are in good clean hands again.

The question that doesn’t seem to be asked is; why did we chuck that rubbish in the first place? We now all have recycling bins with regular collections.

On beautiful country sides are lonely and discarded shopping trolleys thrown over a bridge and cars driven into the river. Then of course the usual detritus of a consumer obsessed society. Many mattresses, complete floral covered settees, handy ‘night and day’ sofas with inbuilt storage are also finding their way around the shopping center’s collection bins car parks.

We have also moved into chucking the electronic litter with perfectly working but outdated TV’s, (the stigma of still watching TV’s on those large monster TV’s), a plethora of outdated computer monitors, printers and associated wonky desks all collapsed when the Allen key got lost. Go along any day when councils collect household rubbish and the streets are filled with stuff still being advertised on Bunnings and Harvey Norman. We want it NOW, the ads still screaming in our ears. Talk about a ‘throw-away-society’. We excel as no other country in rotating and chucking out all those ‘we want it NOW’ as quickly as possible.

Why are so many mattresses chucked out? Do people sleep standing up? The discarded spring mattress has clearly taken over from rusty children bikes and lawnmowers of the past. The reason being; children are becoming rare and the lawns get cut by gardeners.  Perhaps with changing and divorcing partners so often, many feel a new and fresh mattress is in order! Who knows?  It is well known that wives should get suspicious when men buy new underpants; I would be especially on the alert if partners start carting mattresses home as well.

Tony Burke, the Federal Minister for Environment is now keen to get the states to agree and approve of CDS (container deposit scheme) like they are enjoying in South Australia and Northern Territory. The school kids in those states are well provided with pocket money beavering away after school, tidying up the cities and country sides.


Another good example from the private sector is those lockable and deposit paying shopping trolleys. Why have the large supermarkets not followed suit? It should be made obligatory. Ridiculous for helicopters to be leased to try and find back shopping trolleys. There are rewards out for their return. How ridiculous and what a waste of money for those shopping trolleys to clog up our footpaths, kerbs and parks. What dysfunctional person does this? It boggles the mind what shopping trolleys are doing at Sydney’s Rookwood cemetery but there were five of those trolleys around the tombstones of some of our dearly departed last week. Did some really shopped till they dropped?

Off course the beverage industry is gearing up for the usual assault on common sense. Listening to them make you feel it is almost an obligation and virtue to confetti shower our country side with their beverage container rubbish. Who cares if the plastic rubbish ends up being ingested by pods of whales or killing dolphins?  Who cares if our country-side is littered with plastic or discarded soft drink bottles or beer cans rammed into forks of trees and broken glass bottles in our children’s playgrounds?

We might take a leaf out of societies and countries that are better in dealing with rubbish. In many countries including The Netherlands, all discarded manufactured products have to be returned to the sellers. The sellers of the products are obliged by laws to take back all those products that are being replaced. There are no rubbish tips for local residents to discard rubbish. All has to be recycled.  If you buy a TV, the old one has to be picked up by the retailer free of charge. So, it is with mattresses or bottles, jars and all plastic.

In the past, the objections to good sense and logic have been ignored and we go on our merry environmental destruction. Let’s hope that at least we succeed in getting rid of all the beverage containers littering our beautiful country.

The beverage manufacturer is surely responsible for the product and should exercise common care before as well as after the sale. Hopefully they will support Tony Burke’s move to introduce a deposit on all beverage containers.


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