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November 12, 2009

Plastics News

Australia considers national bottle deposits

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (Nov. 12, 1:50 p.m. ET) -- As Australian politicians inch their way towards deciding if they will introduce a national container deposit scheme (CDS) one of the beverage industry’s key lobby groups says it remains opposed to any such plans for packaging.

Environment ministers from Australia’s federal, state and territory governments have been discussing the pros and cons of a national CDS since April 2008, but are yet to make a decision.

At a Nov. 5 meeting, the ministers considered preliminary findings of research they had commissioned in May on community attitudes to a national scheme.

They deferred any decision until the final research is available, but noted a deciding factor will be the community’s willingness to pay for a deposit program.

Ministers are not expected to meet again until June, but could discuss the issue and make a decision earlier through a telephone hook-up.

Even then, any decision will be to develop a “regulatory impact statement” (RIS) assessing the likely economic and social costs and benefits of a CDS.

The state of South Australia has had a CDS since 1977 and in May the Northern Territory government said it plans to implement its own CDS, regardless of any decision on a national scheme.

But the Sydney-based Australasian Bottled Water Institute Inc. said a national CDS is not needed.

Institute CEO Geoff Walker said the vast majority of bottled water, soft drinks and juices sold in Australia are marketed in PET bottles that are already successfully recycled through municipal curbside programs.

Walker pointed to research by the Plastics & Chemicals Industries Association, the Australian Beverages Council and others suggesting existing high rates of container recycling.

The nation’s PET bottle makers have been using recycled materials to manufacture bottles since 1994. Advances in production, such as lightweighting, also mean less PET is being used, Walker said.

He said more than 80 percent of Australian households use curbside recycling and 70 percent of all beverage containers, including PET, are already being recycled.

“We don’t believe a CDS is the best option. We are of the opinion a national CDS would cost taxpayers and governments money to establish and operate and would affect the viability of council recycling schemes,” Walker said.

He said governments should focus on initiatives encouraging consumers to do more recycling away from home.

http://www.plasticsnews.com/headlines2.html?id=17124


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