Container deposit scheme costs Bevco $80,000 in first two months

Bevco owners Larry and Elizabeth Etherington are devastated by the impact the container deposit scheme is having on their business. Photo: FILE
Bevco owners Larry and Elizabeth Etherington are devastated by the impact the container deposit scheme is having on their business. Photo: FILE

Iconic Mudgee beverage company Bevco is facing an uncertain future because of the NSW government’s container deposit scheme.

Just a few days into the official launch of the scheme, Bevco has been forced to pay $70,000 so far to help establish it, as well as another $10,000 to register their bottles.

An initial bill of $35,000 was paid by Bevco in November, with the same amount also required for December.

The company in charge of scheme, Exchange for Change, has been responsible for establishing a float of $128 million to fund the scheme, with beverage suppliers required to contribute money based on their percentage of the market.

The problem for Bevco is they are required to try and recoup the money by passing on the cost to retailers, and some are rallying against the cost.

But even if everyone does agree to take on the cost, it will be close to three months before Bevco will see that money.

Trouble brewing: Prices of drink containers are rising but Mudgee company Bevco is struggling because of the way the container deposit scheme has been implemented. Photo: AAP IMAGES

Trouble brewing: Prices of drink containers are rising but Mudgee company Bevco is struggling because of the way the container deposit scheme has been implemented. Photo: AAP IMAGES

Bevco financial controller Corinne Hoffman said they didn’t know how the company would be positioned financially in 12 months time.

“We don’t know what is going to happen,” she said.

“We don’t know how the public is going to respond, they may cut back.”

There is added uncertainty with Queensland intending to introduce a CDS in July next year, which will add even more costs and potentially endanger the business that employs 47 people, including between 15 and 20 in Mudgee.

“Once the Queensland scheme comes in, we are looking at costs of $95,000 a month and we can’t afford that,” Ms Hoffman said.

It’s not just sale of its own products that is endangering Bevco. 

Almost half of its business in Queensland is the supply of containers for small operators but many of those have indicated the CDS will make things too complicated and will close their business.

The roll out of the container deposit scheme for small beverage manufacturers has been a disaster that could lead to unnecessary regional job losses.

Penny Sharpe

Labor’s Shadow Minister for the Environment has said it wasn’t fair that small to medium beverage suppliers.

Penny Sharpe said she has been in regular contact with Bevco since it became clear the container deposit scheme was causing trouble.

“Container deposit schemes should be flagship environmental initiatives not an excuse to raise drink prices and drive small business into the ground.”

“Businesses like Bevco have withstood massive change in their industry and survived, yet the Berejiklian/Barilaro Government has pushed them to the edge.”

“The roll out of the container deposit scheme for small beverage manufacturers has been a disaster that could lead to unnecessary regional job losses.”

There is no collection point for people to return their containers in Mudgee, and Ms Sharpe said it created further trouble and concern for companies like Bevco.