In March 2013 a Federal Court ruled in favour of Coca-Cola Amatil’s (CCA’s) bid to stop the ‘Cash for Containers’ scheme set up that January the Northern Territories (NT), claiming that adding 10c to its products was unfair to consumers, despite the sum being refundable in the event of recycling.
But this month all Australian states and territories united to close a legal loophole and exempt the NT container deposit scheme (CDS) from the Commonwealth Mutual Recognition Act, which means that the beverage industry is again obliged to subsidize the scheme.
Plastic trash ‘no laughing matter’
The deposit scheme continued in the wake of Coke’s court victory, with the Northern Territories government footing the $1m ($900,000) per month bill to repay consumer deposits, as beverage firms CCA, Lion and Schweppes (parties to the legal action) stopped supporting the CDS.
Environmental organization Greenpeace insists on its spoof site that 8bn bottles and cans end up in Australian waterways each year, “threatening and killing our marine life”.
“Plastic trash in our takes over 400 years to break down. It’s no laughing matter,” the group adds.
“A 10 cent Cash for Containers scheme is the most effective way to increase recycling rates. Yet Coca-Cola is doing all they can to block it forever. Email Coke CEO Terry Davis now,” Greenpeace says.
Spoof site ribs CCA
The spoof Coke Refunds website – a parody of the Coke Rewards site – carries ironic text apparently written by Coca-Cola that states: “At Coca-Cola we believe good things should be shared with everyone.
"That’s why we support the Cash for Containers scheme that will double recycling rates and put 10 cents back in your pocket.”
But if users try to click on a radio button stating ‘Refund my 10C!’ it runs away from the cursor.
Those who agree with Greenpeace can then sign a petition slamming CCA for its efforts to stop “the popular and proven Cash for Containers scheme being implemented nationally”.
“After months of negotiations, the 10 cent deposit refund is once again running in the Northern Territory…Now it’s time Coke dropped its misinformation campaigns once and for all and supported a national Cash for Containers Scheme,” Greenpeace says.
Coke questions CDS economics
A petition box below – addressed to executives and directors of Coca-Cola Amatil – claims the deposit scheme is the best, proven way to boost recycling, reduce litter and save taxpayers money.
Such a scheme would create thousands of jobs, Greenpeace claims, alleging that Coca-Cola is guilty of “spin…misinformation and bullying" on the issue.
CCA did not respond to a comment request in time for publication, but in March The Coca-Cola Company said an Australian CDS would jeopardize the economic basis of kerbside recycling.
Questioning who would pay for deposit recycling centers, Coke also claimed that the Northern Territory experience showed that the real cost to consumers was 20c/bottle, due to “the cost of running the extensive infrastructure”.