IN Australian cities rainwater tanks are being promoted as environmentally friendly with generous government subsidies available for their purchase and installation. But according to Don Matthew, a gardener who is passionate about the environment, they are a looming pollution problem:
“Ask anyone in the business of manufacturing or selling poly tanks and they will tell you without fail they can be recycled. The industry’s ARMA (Association of Rotatational Moulders Australasia) website www.watertanks.org.au says ” Can poly tanks be recycled? Yes, they can be completely recycled”. Most Australians would accept this as being correct and so feel environmentally comfortable about purchasing a poly tank. Unfortunately, this appears to be far from the truth. I believe the industry have no idea how UV-degraded (spent) tanks are going to be recycled.
Over the past months I have been directing questions to various sections of the industry to find out what they would tell an environmentally concerned member of the public about recycling spent poly tanks. The results have been interesting and have all been documented on the weblog http://thegreataustralianpolytankdebate.blogspot.com . I then followed this up with further questions and asked for evidence to back up their claims. The result: one big deafening silence. Their recycling claims appear to be simply marketing tools to take advantage of the current water crisis and make us all feel environmentally comfortable with poly tanks.
For the moment I am just asking questions and recording results on the weblog. Next year I would like to see a national awareness campaign launched to raise this issue with the Australian public. It needs to be brought out into the open for discussion and debate. The industry is just burying their head in the sand and while no-one asks questions they will continue to sell their tanks and perpetrate what I believe is misleading information about recycling. In the not-too-distant-future millions of spent tanks will be lying around. If the recycling issue is not resolved I can see us heading for a major environmental pollution problem.”