Wellington Shire Revolutionises Recycling in New Scheme

Lucy Andrews

A Bill has passed through Youth Parliament outlining a new recycling scheme to be initiated in Victoria by the team from Wellington Shire. Known as the Victorian Container Deposit Scheme (VCDS), the Bill proposes that ‘reverse vending machines’ (RVMs) are to be introduced in Victoria, allowing residents to deposit recyclables in the machines and receive a monetary remittance in the form of a voucher.

In effect, the Bill aims to clean up Victorian communities, “creating a state that residents are proud to live in.”

Honourable Member Capurso noted the detrimental effects of plastic on the environment in her address to Parliament: “Plastic is spoiling the earth for all of us.”

“No island in the world, not even the ones uninhabited by humans, are not affected by plastic.”

The proposed bill claims to ‘save money, decrease litter, save resources such as energy and water, and cut greenhouse gasses’. According to Hon. Member Capurso, “There is no question about it. We need this scheme.”

However, the opposition saw practical flaws in the proposed legislation. Hon. Member Laity called the bill “utterly useless and ineffective.” He believed that the number of proposed vending machines was “inconvenient” for rural communities, as clause 9.1 states that, “Each local council shall receive one RVM per 10,000 people.”

Honourable Member Widdison agreed. She argued that alternative systems, such as a depository like those currently in use in South Australia, are more effective. Widdison noted that the use of vending machines would “cause congestion on the streets, as these machines will fill up rapidly.”

The government defended their scheme, with Hon. Member Danks claiming that the vending machines “will decrease litter at the same rate as in South Australia.”

As well as being effective, Hon. Member Vallette argued that, “Jobs will be created regarding design, maintenance, and servicing of these machines.”

The monetary remittance gained from the scheme was scrutinised by the opposition. Honourable Member Pilli cautioned that the financial incentive could hinder the culture created in Victoria of respecting the environment.

“We have worked so hard in Victoria to establish a culture that values recycling, we don’t want it to only be done under the duress of the financial incentive.”

The bill was passed with a slight majority of 32 to 29.

Honourable Member and Youth Premier Taylor Le-Page called on the state to take the first step. “It is up to other states to follow Victoria, to build towards a better future in our sustainability and environmental practices.”

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