Can the Northern Territory beat the Drink 'Bully Boys'?
Wednesday 20 February 2013
Allow me to flag my bias from the outset - I'm tinged green. My shade of green recognises that my actions can contribute to a cleaner or more polluted world and that overall, I'd prefer the cleaner version. There's a huge amount of data that shows that as a species we haven't been looking after the very world that provides us with a life support framework. Okay that said let me flag that I'm also a pragmatist - I like solutions that are feasible (not 'equal'),
I recognise that some people DO know LOTS more than me and that they SHOULD be given the leadership mantle when required. The whole idea of everyone being treated equally is a misleading ploy - in my pragmatic view of the world 'reality' is that we are not 'equal' - for starters, I can't speak Swedish and don't get me started on wrapping presents! Which brings me to the subject of the Northern Territory's container recycling scheme
Not all companies are equal and niether are all Government's. But all environments ARE equal because there is ONLY ONE Environment - an interconnected flow.
My view is that the three drink companies involved in this bringing a law suit against the overwhelming majority of people in the Northern Territory who supported it are acting like bullies. They are hoping to use the weight of their finanical position and an interesting interpretation of the law in order to maintain their 'right' for their products to pollute landfill, streets, water ways and so on. They say that the NT Government law is a restriction on the sales of their products.
That of itself is an interesting interpretation as I can't see anywhere that the NT are saying 'you're not allowed to sell' rather, 'here's how we want the rubbish collected'. To an extent, the Bully Boys might have ignored the recent win by the Federal Government's Cigarette packet approach - there is, I believe, strong correlation.
The law says States & Territories cannot restrict trade amongst one another - a sensible bit of thinking by those who helped draw up the Federated model. Of course it didn't stop some states choosing narrow gauge railtrack which is a bug bear for all, and I digress.
And let's not discuss South Australia's long running and highly successful recycling scheme which sees around 90% of all drink containers recycled. Though a word of warning for South Australia - if the drink companies win this Federal Court action YOU'RE NEXT.
And we should just forget about the fact that since it's introduction, recycling in the NT has doubled (though off a low base) with now about a third of all containers being recycled - expect that to climb further
So being a pragmatist, and being tinged green let me revisit an idea I floated with Vicki Kerrigan on ABC Darwin Radio last year when the scheme was being proposed. Assuming that the Federal Court rules in favour of the 'Bully Boys' (I'm thinking they won't) then the recycling scheme goes. But with the majority of Territorians wanting the scheme, with it proving itself early and with the drink companies not wanting to do the smart thing by embracing the idea, then the NT Government should enact the following law:
'Any drink container found in any street, water way, or public area shall be deemed to be toxic waste. Penalty for such waste production shall fall onto the original manufacturer of the saleable product for which the container was used. Penalty Unit: $10'
So from now on, EVERY single plastic bottle, glass bottle, container etc found as toxic rubbish will incur a fine of $10 per bottle. Now that's a tax I'd like to see and I wonder how long it would take before the Bully Boys decide recycling is not a bad thing. Especially with their market share!
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