Bottle refund scheme

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A stall giving out  drink containers was one of several activities scheduled last week as part of World Environment Week.

The stall was set up at Alexandra Wastebusters and offered a 10c refund for every recyclable drink container brought in.

Wanaka Wastebusters communications adviser Gina Dempster said the community response was positive, with several people refusing the refund or making their own donations to Wastebusters.

“A lot of people remember it from when they were kids.

“There’s a lot of good memories about it, but people also see it really makes sense.”

Ms Dempster said more than 100 people who brought in bottles also signed the national petition which calls to introduce permanent bottle refund schemes and will be sent to Minister for Environment Nick Smith.

“The response has been really strong.

“We noticed that people didn’t take any persuading. They all knew about that type of bottle refund scheme and they were all really keen to see it reintroduced in NZ.”

Along with reducing litter and boosting recycling rates, the refund scheme could also serve as a fundraiser for community groups, she said.

She pointed to the example of South Australia, which is celebrating 40 years of bottle refunds this year.

According to the Environmental Protection Authority, that state has the highest recycling and litter reduction rates for bottles in Australia, with beverage containers making up just 2.2% of the state’s litter.

More than $50 million was refunded to the community in the 2015-16 financial year.

The bottle refund stall was one of many activities run last week to coincide with World Environment Week.

Other activities around the district included planting native plants, movie nights and sustainability workshops.

For more information on the bottle refund petition, visit www.kiwibottledrive.nz