Australia

Trade groups back recommendation for extension to recycling programme

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Trade groups back recommendation for extension to recycling programme

Related tags: Container deposit scheme, Australia

An alliance of Australian trade associations has welcomed the findings of a Council of Australian Governments (Coag) report that recommends the introduction of an industry-led national recycling and anti-litter programme, while rejecting an “unaffordable” A$8bn (US$6.5bn) alternative container deposit scheme. 

The report examined 10 different options to improve recycling and reduce litter, and found an extension of the successful “Australian packaging covenant​” was the most attractive, as it would generate A$285m (US$233m) of recycling and litter reduction benefits. 

Importantly, the report said the proposal would have no impact on consumers or jobs. 

Container scheme loses support

Coag rejected the Greens-backed container deposit scheme as the least affordable of the 10 options. 

Analysis by the independent Acil Tasman has shown a CDS would cost households an extra A$300 (US$245) each per year, or double the impact of the carbon tax. It warned the move would also cut 1,800 jobs nationally. 

In its response to the report, the alliance, which includes representatives of the grocery, drinks, dairy and brewer groups, called on all governments to accept the findings. Its spokesman, Geoff Parker of the Australian Beverages Council, said the industries would work with the authorities to implement the recommended solution. 

The “discredited” alternative container deposit scheme, he said, would increase the retail price of every bottle, can, carton of milk, soft drink, beer, wine and juice container by up to 20 cents. 

To participate in a CDS people need to store cans, bottles and cartons at home and then drive to a handful of depots, scan them into a container one by one to receive a portion of their own money back​,” he said. 

The operating costs of the scheme are so high that it would cost New South Wales families an extra A$300 a year at the checkout and threaten hundreds of jobs across the state​.”

Promoting new infrastructure

Coag found the industry’s extended Australian packaging covenant would provide a number of key benefits over other options. It targets allpackaging and covers allparticipants along the supply chain, from design and manufacture to end of life disposal, it reported.

Moreover, it requires no further regulations and can operate alongside a range of existing regulatory arrangements, Coag said, and could be used to provide funding for local councils to target local litter hot spots while investing in new recycling infrastructure to increase the amount of packaging that can be recycled;.

Since 2003 Australia’s national packaging recycling rate has increased from 39% to 64.2%, a level higher now than in the EU. 

According to this year’s Keep Australia Beautiful’s national litter index, litter rates are going nationally, with the overall average number 51 items per 1,000sqm, down from 56 last year. 

Related topics: Policy, Oceania, Industry growth

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