Greenpeace is urging the NSW government to keep its promise to deliver a can recycling scheme the state deserves, and not give in to lobby group pressure.
The environmental group has released a video targeting the soft drink giant Coca-Cola Amatil, urging “Don’t recycle in the Coke way”.
Greenpeace says it’s time NSW had an effective drink container return scheme such as that used in South Australia, where 10 cents is returned for every bottle or can recycled.
‘If (NSW Premier) Mike Baird breaks his promise it will be because the government put Coca-Cola before the community and before clean beaches and parks,’ Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Nathaniel Pelle told AAP.
The video starts like many signature Coke ad campaigns but takes a dark twist as beachgoers lie down surrounded by discarded bottles, and a dead bird falls from the sky.
Mr Pelle said drinking containers made up 44 per cent of all litter in NSW.
The beverage industry’s proposed recycling scheme – called Thirst for Good – was poorly conceived and ineffective, he added.
‘It’s incredibly urgent that we deal with the giant plastic pollution problem right now, and NSW, as the biggest state, has the responsibility to put in place measures that are proven,’ Mr Pelle said.
But a Coca-Cola Amatil spokesman told AAP that a cash-back scheme would negatively impact the multi-billion dollar beverage industry in NSW and raise the cost of living for families.
Instead, Coca-Cola supports the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s Thirst For Good campaign, which would take returns of cans in exchange for donations to charities.
‘Thirst for Good is the AFGC’s solution to address the litter needs of NSW supported by all major beverage manufacturers,’ the spokesman said.
Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the government was open to alternatives to the cash-back model.
The government has proposed both the cash-back and the Thirst For Good models in a discussion paper that is open to comments until February 26.
‘No decisions will be made on the scheme’s final design until after the consultation period has closed and all comments have been reviewed and evaluated,’ Mr Speakman said.