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“Cash for cans” is finally coming to Victoria!

By Ellen Sandell - State MP for Melbourne

After more than 10 years of campaigning from the Greens and community groups, Victoria is finally about to introduce a “cash for cans” scheme! The final design of the scheme was announced in April and we’re really pleased.

South Australia has had a scheme like this for more than 20 years, and almost every other state and territory now has one too. Victoria is late to the game, but it’s better late than never.

From 2023, Victorians will be able to take their bottles and cans to depots at convenient and accessible locations across Victoria to return containers, including shops, reverse vending machines, depots, pop-ups, and drop-off points. These will be run by recyclers, small business, and charity, community, and sports groups.

This will get litter off our streets and clean up our waste stream so recyclable materials like bottles and cans don’t end up in landfill, but are actually recycled. It will also add welcome cash to sports clubs and other organisations and people who can collect the money for the cans and bottles.

This scheme is a direct result of the Greens in Parliament. When China stopped taking our waste, it led to a crisis in Victoria which finally shone a light on the fact we were shipping our rubbish overseas and not dealing with it here at home. The problem was, the state government had very few plans for what to do next. So, the Greens initiated a Parliamentary Inquiry to look at solutions. This inquiry recommended a cash for cans scheme, among other solutions, like a fourth glass kerbside bin, and building more recycling factories right here at home. We’re really pleased the state government has taken up so many of these solutions.

While 2023 isn’t as soon as I’d hoped for when it comes to a “cash for containers” program, it will be a major step forward to reducing our waste and cutting out dangerous litter pollution on our streets and in our local parks, rivers and creeks.

I’m also pleased that companies like Coca-Cola and other big corporations didn’t get their way when it comes to the design of the program. They were lobbying the state government to design a scheme that would’ve locked out local community groups and kept more profit with big corporations, which we fought against.

I will now be turning my attention to what needs to happen next. Many people in the CBD and Docklands still don’t have access to composting, and this needs to change.

One of my personal pet peeves is pointless single-use plastics, like bananas and other fruit wrapped in plastic, and the enormous plastic packaging that confronts us when we head to the supermarket. We need to end pointless unnecessary plastics packaging and take solid steps to move away from this disposable society.

I’ll continue to advocate in the State Parliament to reduce the amount of waste we produce, by banning unnecessary single-use plastics and ensuring food scraps are composted (not sent to landfill) in our green waste bins, among other solutions.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with recycling or ideas for how we can move to a less wasteful city. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch at 146 Peel St, North Melbourne by emailing [email protected] or calling us on 9328 4637 •

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