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November 1, 2009


Recycling refund will hike beer price

AUSTRALIANS will pay an extra $3.36 for a slab of beer and 14c more for a can of Coke under a national drink container recycling scheme, manufacturers say.

An Australia-wide 10c rebate on used bottles and cans could be announced as soon as next week, when the National Environment Protection Council will meet to discuss the Rudd government's container deposit scheme.

But drinks giants Coca-Cola, Foster's Group and Lion Nathan have revealed they will pass any costs on to consumers if the plan is approved.

Foster's spokesman Troy Hey said the company would increase the price of popular products such as Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught.

"Take your stubbies and put 14c on top of the price of every one," Mr Hey said.

"Add that to a slab, and you're talking about $3.30 more.

"If that was going to lead to a fantastic increase in recycling, it might be all right.

"But it won't, because the average person isn't going to drive their stubbies down to a collection point to get 10c back."

Coca-Cola spokeswoman Sally Loane said there was no doubt people would pay more over the counter if the recycling scheme was introduced.

"It will be at least 10c from our point of view. And then, with whatever other charges, it will be about 14c per container," Ms Loane said.

In June, NSW Greens MLC Ian Cohen introduced the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Recovery) Bill to the Upper House, but it was voted down.

According to the Greens, Australians discard about 11 billion drink containers a year, about three billion of which end up on the side of roads.

Eleven billion containers translates to about half a million tonnes of rubbish in landfill each year.

Greens senator Scott Ludlam has said a national recycling program would reduce Australia's greenhouse emissions by nearly one million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

"The scheme will save enough water to permanently supply more than 30,000 homes," Senator Ludlam said.

"It will deliver air-quality improvements equivalent to taking 56,000 cars off the road.

"It will create approximately 1000 direct jobs, and it will decrease the litter that we see by the side of roads and around our communities."

The Greens will present a petition for the scheme to the National Environment Protection Council when it meets on Thursday.


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