The cost of beer, juice, soft drink, is set to rise by up to 25 cents from December 1 with the introduction of the NSW container deposit scheme. Under the Exchange for Change scheme – designed to reduce litter – most empty beverage containers will be eligible for a 10c refund.
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The Exchange for Change scheme, under which 10¢ will be paid for every drink container between 150 millilitres and three litres, is one of the Berejiklian government's key tools for reducing the state's litter 40 per cent by 2020.
But with the scheme due to start in less than six weeks, questions have been raised about where consumers can redeem their recyclables and how much it will cost the consumer and manufacturers.
The owners of Mudgee’s beverage manufacturer Bevco, Larry and Elizabeth Etherington, don’t believe consumers are being told the full story.
“This bottle tax will be introduced in time to charge an extra $6 on the Christmas slab of beer. This is a reverse Christmas present from NSW Premier Berejiklian,” Mr Etherington said.
“The Government is saying the public can receive a 10¢ docket on a redeemable bottle but not saying it will cost 25 cents extra to buy that bottle.”
Beverage suppliers are responsible for covering the cost of the 10¢ refund along with the cost of managing the scheme, which is over 13¢ per container.
These costs will be directly passed on to consumers, which means a case of 24 cans of soft drink or beer will increase by up to $6.
Coca-Cola Amatil has been appointed as the scheme co-ordinator, along with Asahi Schweppes, Carlton United, Coopers, Lion Tooheys, Tomra International / Cleanaway and the NSW EPA.
"It is utterly stupid to put the fox in charge of the hen house," Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi told Fairfax Media. "Big beverage companies like Coca-Cola have no interest in reducing litter or increasing recycling rates and will only work to sabotage and undermine the scheme.”
Mr Etherington agrees, saying the scheme co-ordinators, “have been given an open cheque to charge whatever they need to run this scheme. With no limits, just cost-plus.”
He fears the result will be the closure of many small beverage companies, particularly, in rural areas. “The Gang of Seven will achieve their aim in removing a number of competitors from the market place.”
Member of Dubbo Troy Grant has been contacted for comment.
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