Calls for increased recycling and a reduction of greenhouse gases

Monday, 03 March, 2008

Diageo Australia has announced its support for having effective means of recycling and reducing greenhouse gases following calls by Senator Steve Fielding, as well as those made recently by Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan, for an effective national container recycling scheme.

Corporate relations director Ron Ainsbury said while his company would need to see the full detail of any such scheme, Diageo supported the concept if it delivered better recovery for recycling and was a genuine deposit scheme. He added that while the company’s contribution to the litter stream is relatively low, the company his committed to leadership in this area:

“Beverage containers make up a relatively small portion (10%) of rubbish going to landfill though nationally account for around 25% of the litter stream and in WA around 50%. While Diageo’s products are a small portion of the overall volume of packaging (around 4% of glass and 8% of aluminium), we are concerned to ensure that as much as possible of this material is recovered for recycling, which necessitates new approaches such as container deposits,” said Ainsbury.

“Australia’s current recycling rate for glass of less then 35% is at odds with community expectations for recycling. An effectively designed system of container deposits, one which fits with current kerbside schemes and does not become a tax for government, should provide both the right incentive for the community to play their role in increasing recycling rates as well as the all-important public place infrastructure to collect materials.

“Recycling schemes like container deposit systems not only save landfill space and remove rubbish from parks and waterways, they also play a part in tackling climate change. For instance, it only takes 5% of the energy required to make a new aluminium can from recycled material as it does from virgin material. At the moment, 15,000 tonnes of aluminium cans are sent to landfill in Australia, along with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of glass and plastics — all of which could have been recycled to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Diageo is pleased that over 99% of its product packaging is recyclable. We are also undertaking a suite of important water and energy reduction projects at our plants and offices. In addition, Diageo recently trialled a deposit refund approach at two sponsored events (HomeBake and Future Music) at which recycling rates were 95% and 75% respectively, based on a $1 deposit system.

“Recycling at these two events proved to Diageo that a deposit system was effective for recovering bottles and cans, kept the sites extremely clean of rubbish and was also well received by the public.”

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