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Source: Herald Sun (AAP)
Date: 18 February, 2013

TWO Greenpeace activists have been arrested after unfurling a banner outside Coca-Cola Amatil’s Sydney headquarters to highlight the drinks giant’s opposition to cash for containers recycling.


The large banner displayed a graphic image of a dead albatross with its cut-open stomach full of waste plastic beside the words “Brought to you by Coca-Cola”.

Two activists who climbed ladders up pillars outside the North Sydney offices to unfurl the banner were later arrested by police and could face malicious damage charges.

Greenpeace spokesman Reece Turner said the protest was targeting Coca-Cola for taking the Northern Territory government to the Federal Court to try to overturn its cash for containers recycling scheme.

The legal action is due to begin in the Federal Court in Sydney on Tuesday.

Mr Turner told AAP that all governments should stand up to the drinks giant and not be intimidated by court action to overturn sensible container schemes that reduced waste as well as the threat to seabirds and other wildlife.

Police Inspector Kristy Walters said several other protesters would be issued with infringement notices after failing to comply with move-on notices following the unregistered protest.

Police rescue officers using their own ladders had the banner down within 15 minutes.

Coca-Cola’s court case opposes the Northern Territory scheme which involves a 10 cent deposit on drink purchases, refundable when the container is returned to a designated recycling agent.

A similar scheme has been operating in South Australia for decades.

Mr Turner said it was important that governments were not “bullied” by the beverage industry ahead of a Council of Australian Governments meeting in April that will consider a national roll-out of such schemes.

“We’re here to tell governments to stand up to Coke and not to be intimidated by this legal action.”

He said it was estimated that around a quarter of waste plastic in the oceans came from the beverage industry.

Coca-Cola Amatil said in a statement it invested significantly in recycling programs and supported efficient and effective recycling schemes that did not add to another cost of living tax on consumers.

It said it opposed container deposit “taxes” that involved returning empties to collection depots as they were “inefficient, very expensive and undermine the system that works well – kerbside recycling”.

Coca-Cola Amatil has said it had advice that the NT’s legislation conflicted with the federal Mutual Recognition Act.

South Australia has an exemption under the act.

Read article in the Herald Sun