Friday, December 08, 2006

There are empty bottles strewn everywhere. So the Greens and the NZBCSC have kicked up a stink about how tough it is for roading contractors to include recycled glass in road aggregate.

It’s the latest spat in trying to find a solution to the glass mountain that I’ve posted about previously. Just last month a beverage industry spokesperson scorned calls for introduction of a compulsory bottle deposit.

His was the classic short sighted economic argument: consumers should not be penalised for the fact that the recycling industry can’t make glass recycling work. No mention of the fact that councils and ratepayers typically subsidise beverage companies by footing the cost for disposing of single use packaging.

The argument is one of life cycle costing for glass. The Greens and NZBCSD press releases show that councils (and their roading contractors) are not prepared to factor in the saved landfill costs when deciding whether to mix glass with roading aggregate. And there's stacks of unused “recycled” glass available.

Late last year more than 2,000 people signed a bottle deposit petition that a Motueka community group submitted to local councils. Nothing substantial came from councils, but the same community group are now part of the Great New Zealand Bottle Drive – a campaign to establish container deposit legislation. South Australia has been operating under such legislation for many years, and so have 11 states in the USA. The Canadian territory of Ontario is considering it.

Of course the glass mountain wouldn't be an issue if there was no need to recycle bottles – if all beverage bottles were reused. Like those you use when drinking beer from a crate.

I’ll say it again: if you’re after a beer at a bar then ask for it from the tap. If there’s no tap don’t consider it your local. Your average sports or working men’s club, or your local RSA will probably have tallies (from the crate). They just happen to serve them at a fine new establishment upstairs on Cuba Street. Crikey, would you look at the time…!

Update: 21 March '07 - Duncan of Community Action has informed me that over 25 councils have now got behind their push for CDL - including Wellington City. Great work!

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