Tweed Mayor Joan van Lieshout and her husband Peter who went from bottle collector to millionaire.
Tweed Mayor Joan van Lieshout and her husband Peter who went from bottle collector to millionaire. Tweed Daily News

Recycling plan makes cents

TWEED mayor Joan van Lieshout has come out in full support of a refund scheme to encourage recycling of cans and bottles, revealing that was how her millionaire husband Peter started out in a migrant camp.

Cr van Lieshout yesterday backed the NSW Local Government, shires associations and Clean Up Australia which called for the introduction of a nationwide refund scheme.

The groups say such a scheme would save councils money on kerbside recyclable collection, increase the amount of rubbish that is recycled and reduce the amount going into landfill rubbish tips.

Cr van Lieshout said if it involved collection centres it might also save Tweed Shire Council from having to supply proposed separate recycling bins. She said she could remember collecting bottles for pocket money as a child when refunds previously existed.

“It would be great and it would give an incentive to recycle,” she said. “I think the van Lieshout family started out that way in a migrant camp. That's certainly the way my husband started out.”

Cr Lieshout said her husband's family emigrated from Europe in 1960 and spent two years in a migrant camp at Wacol, between Brisbane and Ipswich.

The money they earned while living at the camp, through work such as collecting bottles, helped the family save the deposit on a house in the Brisbane suburb of Bulimba.

A refund scheme, she said, would not only be great for saving councils money, but good for children.

“Who knows, there may be some future millionaires out there starting on recycled bottles.”

According to the NSW Local Government and Shires Association, recycling of drink cans and bottles would increase by more than 20 per cent if a 10-cent refund scheme was introduced.

State and Federal environment ministers are due to meet in Hobart on Friday and have been asked to act urgently to improve recycling and ease the financial burden on ratepayers by introducing con- tainer deposit legislation.

Local Government Association president Cr Genia McCaffery said kerbside collection of recyclables cost more than $300 million a year nationally to run.

Clean Up Australia Chairman Ian Kiernan said a national container deposit scheme like the one in place in South Australia was the way forward for Australia on recycling.

“Drink containers make up a large proportion of the rubbish volun- teers find dumped in the natural environment on Clean Up Australia Day each year - up to almost 40 per cent,” Mr Kiernan said.

“Consumer behaviour needs to improve but government and industry have to share responsibility for tackling the waste created away from the home where kerbside recycling already operates effectively.”

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