Family First launches a ‘bottler’

A ‘bottler’ – Australian colloquialism – “something exciting admiration or approval”..not sure of origins but may stem from early convict days of Australia, thus someone known to be a bottler of rum or sly grog would “excite admiration and approval” (open to challenge on this one! ) Interesting to note that UK slang is quite the opposite “A person or group, especially a sports team, that doesn’t meet expectations, particularly prone to failure when success is expected.”

Many Australians would have fond memories scavaging bottles for pocket money or to cover a trip to the cinema. It all made graceful environmental sense, kept the neighborhood tidy and provided income for scout clubs and other not for profit associations. I always wondered if the scratched glass green coke bottles had twice or maybe three times returned to quench my thirst. All this dramatically changed when the packaging and bottling industry, like most other things, drifted out of the reach of governance and became a law unto themselves, one use consumption with high embodied energy costs, and litter lining the streets for want of any incentive from bottler or consumer to ‘do the right thing’. It comes then as a pleasant surprise to see Family First Senator Fielding getting down to brass tacks and demonstrating the obvious to Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett who are struggling to win points on greenhouse or the environment. His proposal is for a 5 cents refund scheme but the Greens would like to see this pushed up to 20 cents which from memory was the departure point prior to such schemes terminating in the early eighties.

Dressed appropriately in a bottle the senator proclaimed:

“There is a message in this bottle that we need to clean up, turn trash into cash, and that would get litter off the streets, out of the creeks,” he said.

“There’s nothing worse than seeing it there and [the scheme] also allows community groups to earn some extra cash.

“It’s a great idea. It’s a win-win and I can’t understand today why nationally we don’t have a scheme.

“It is crazy and we’ll get to the bottom of this, the Senate will look into it.”


The senator raised an interesting point concerning why such schemes no longer exist in a country which leads the world in per capita greenhouse gas consumption ( The Australia Institute). It was some time back this year I raised exactly the same point with the self regulating peak body governing packaging recycling outcomes..I never did receive a response suggesting such bodies no doubt represent the vested interests of the wasteful packaging industry so any suggestions to make less packaging would automatically fall on deaf ears.

Congratulations Senator Fielding for putting common sense first!

Unresponded letter to the national packaging convention:


NB. The national packaging convention failed to respond, leaving me and most Australians in the dark as to why these ‘quick wins’ are ignored, while our PM continues to prattle on about his grandiose pie in the sky schemes!

From ABC online : Fielding pushes recycling ‘message in a bottle’

Glass bottle image from: curiouskai blogspot

Inquiry into the management of Australia’s waste streams -submissions received