Beverage Prices Down Under Container Deposits!

Contrary to the impression of big price rises from container deposits that the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) gave you – they were never as high as claimed in the Northern Territory and certainly won’t be under a national container deposit system (CDS).

The AFGC commissioned research showing that households would be hit by a $300 pa impost if CDS was introduced; and 1,700 jobs would be lost. This was based on the assumption that all beverage prices would rise by 20-26cents – the 10cent deposit and a 10-16cent handling fee. They pointed to the Northern Territory Cash for Containers program as proof.

But as revealed in a recent Federal Senate inquiry into pricing under the SA and NT, these assertions were wrong and misleading:

  • The AFGC’s claims of price rises appear to be based on ‘weak methodology and poor data.’ (p20)
  • Industry submissions to the Inquiry provided extensive evidence that there is frequent discounting by retailers. Thus consumers did not face a comprehensive rise of 20 cents for all products; and the price of even one product such as a soft drink varies widely.
  • The alleged price rise includes the 10 cent deposit – which most people redeem.
  • And recyclers of SA stated the net cost of recycling under the SA CD scheme (which is old and inefficient) is only 1cent per container.

The other erroneous assumption the AFGC made was that the NT CDS would be applied nationally. The NT and SA systems are old style and do not adopt the efficiencies in modern CDS. The Boomerang model which is now being assessed by environment ministers is efficient and low cost. There will be no additional cost to the consumer (beyond the temporary impact of a redeemable deposit).

Overleaf you will find a comparison between our proposal, based on existing modern systems – and the SA/NT CDS. If you would like further information about this scheme and the multiple benefits arising from it (80%+ recycling; ‘elimination’ of container litter and marine pollution; and new recycling drop off centres for additional problem wastes) – please contact us.

Yours sincerely,
Jeff Angel, National Convenor Boomerang Alliance

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