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November 5, 2009

Food Week

Cost of container deposits $132m a year, says report: AUS

Australians are looking for more container recycling facilities, according a new study commissioned by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

The research, by polling organisation UMR Research, found that both a national Container Deposit Levy (CDL) and away-from-home recycling systems are both popular, although the alternative recycling option was significantly cheaper.

The industry-based research found that a CDL would cost the Federal Government at least $132 million to run a year based on an 80 per cent return rate, making it a far more expensive option compared with away-from-home recycling.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell said while the research showed CDL was an appealing concept to many Australians, it found that there would be a heavy cost on government and to the consumer.

“To improve recycling facilities, the government should instead be looking at the best value for money system when spending tax-payers money. Clearly the alternate approach, which is a partnership between government, industry and the community, is much more cost effective,” Carnell said.

“The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook released on Monday by the Treasury shows the Federal Budget simply cannot afford any significant new expenditure at this point.”

Industry-based research has found CDL would affect beverage prices by 10 cents extra per container which would be passed on to consumers.

Carnell said industry was committed to responding to community calls for more recycling options in places like sporting venues, airports and food courts, but it needed the support of government to commit to the existing partnership approach.

Under the current partnership, called the National Packaging Covenant – which has been operating for the past 10 years – Australia’s packaging recycling rates have risen from below 40 per cent to almost 60 per cent over the past five years.

Carnell said the decision for environment ministers today (November 5) was simple – to continue the successful partnership approach.

“Environment ministers must once and for all reject the expensive CDL which their own data has shown will cost Australians millions of dollars a year compared to the current affordable and effective model,” she said.

Carnell said CDL would also deliver a crushing blow to the future viability of kerbside recyclers and investment in Australia.


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