Environmental scientist and top model calls for end to rising tide of deadly plastic waste

Press release - 9 July, 2013
Sydney, 9 July, 2013: Environmental scientist and international top model Laura Wells is featured in a new billboard campaign by Greenpeace as part of its push for a national Cash for Containers Scheme to reduce plastic rubbish which is killing marine wildlife.

The billboard image shows Ms Wells lying on a beach, surrounded by empty drink containers, in the same pose as the famous photograph “The Sunbaker” by Max Dupain. 

“Every year in Australia 8 billion bottles and cans are littered or go to landfill, that’s more than the planet’s entire population,” said Ms Wells, Australia’s leading plus-sized model who has a degree in environmental science and law.

“This rising tide of plastic waste not only leaves our beaches, parks and rivers looking like rubbish tips but is killing marine animals like sea birds.

“The birds swallow bits of plastic which get stuck in their stomach and build up to the point where they can’t eat properly and starve. It’s an awful death caused by plastic rubbish.

“A national Cash for Containers Scheme, similar to South Australia, could double recycling rates and greatly reduce plastic rubbish in our parks, beaches and oceans.”

Greenpeace campaigner Reece Turner said South Australia has had a container deposit scheme for 30 years and has a recycling rate of 83 %, more than double the rest of the nation. Overseas, Germany and California have similar schemes and recycling rates of between 88% to 98%. 

However drink manufacturers, led by Coke, are opposed to a cash for containers scheme and took the Northern Territory government to court over its scheme.

“Drink companies like Coke need to start taking responsibility for their own productsand stop getting a free ride on the backs of councils and ratepayers, who pay for the clean-up of public spaces, and the local communities who do it voluntarily,” said Mr Turner. 

“Coke’s recycling efforts continue to be a dismal failure. It’s time for governments to act.”

The Boomerang Alliance of over 20 environment groups including Greenpeace, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Cleanup Australia, and the Total Environment Centre, are calling on state and federal governments to introduce a national cash for containers scheme. Governments are expected to make a decision later this year.

For further information contact: Reece Turner 92630362, mobile - 0408754910 or Jon Walter 92630304, mobile - 0404647842

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