Environment Minister Bill Marmion has given his strongest indication yet that people could be paid to recycle bottles and cans after saying he was growing more supportive of the idea.
Mr Marmion conceded yesterday the Barnett Government could be forced soon to look at new ways of boosting WA's recycling rate amid the State's continually poor track record.
It was revealed yesterday that a landmark deal to turn construction and demolition waste into road base had collapsed after concerns from Transport Minister Troy Buswell about the risk of releasing asbestos fibres.
Mr Marmion confirmed that a glass recycling factory had been forced to close at the end of last year because of ongoing questions about its viability.
A spokesman for the Kewdale plant, which was opened in 2009 and was the only one of its kind in WA, said it had since restarted with a lower capacity.
Mr Marmion said the setbacks were disappointing and had prompted him to start looking more seriously at whether WA should set up a container deposit scheme similar to that in South Australia.
Under such schemes, manufacturers such as beverage giants Coca-Cola Amatil and Lion are hit with a levy for each can or bottle they produce. Consumers are then paid a small amount - usually between 5¢ and 10¢ - for every container they deliver to recycling points.
South Australia has operated a cash-for-cans scheme for decades and boasts a recycling rate of 66.3 per cent.
WA recycles just 28 per cent of its waste. The rest goes to landfill.
Mr Marmion's comments mark a significant shift in rhetoric after he previously tied his support for such schemes to the outcome of a Federal review of the issue.
The WA Local Government Association welcomed the remarks, saying container deposit schemes "provided a financial incentive for people to do the right thing".
Conservation Council of WA director Piers Verstegen said container schemes were proved to be the best way to increase recycling rates and WA should implement one regardless of the decisions of other States.