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September 18, 2009

Food Week

Container deposit legislation not a simple or cheap option: AUS 

Introducing Container Deposit Legislation in Australia was not as simple or inexpensive as many people believe, according to a Senate inquiry report released Thursday.

The Senate report recommended that the private members Bill – Environment Protection – Beverage Container Deposit and Recovery Scheme - for CDL in Australia should “not be passed … at this time”.

The report said that while there was some support for CDL, debate around the bill, and the disagreement from various groups, including the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) highlighted “how complex this area of policymaking can be”.

Australian Food and Grocery Council chief executive Kate Carnell said the report highlighted that any benefits of CDL could not be easily quantified.

“The findings show that CDL is not as simple as it may seem and is a far more complex issue than many people believe,” Carnell said.

“The Senate committee’s findings are a sensible outcome for Australian consumers, who would be forced to bear the costs of a CDL and be inconvenienced by no longer being able to place containers in their recycling bins for kerbside collection.”

Industry research found that CDL is a more expensive option compared with the highly successful industry-led kerbside recycling and packaging waste partnership programs – under the world-leading National Packaging Covenant co-regulatory arrangement – which are already underway in Australia.

Under the current recycling approach, Australia’s packaging recycling rate has risen from below 40 per cent to almost 60 per cent over the past five years. The Covenant has to capacity to divert an additional 500,000 tonnes of packaging from landfill each year.

The Senate report highlighted that the annual costs to Government, industry and the broader community are estimated to be $492 million a year, which Carnell said would result in consumers facing higher prices for bottled and canned beverages, including beer and softdrinks.

Click here to read the Senate’s findings.


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