Drink container deposits don’t add up
Friday, 25 May 2012 17:08

Some of Australia’s largest industry and union representatives have today joined together to reject the imposition of a national drink container deposit system (CDS) currently being considered by Federal, State and Territory Environment Ministers.

The General Manager of the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s (AFGC) Packaging Stewardship Forum, Jenny Pickles, said: “A national CDS would cost Australian families a fortune.  It would effectively impose a tax on drinks including milk, juice, water, wine and beer that would significantly increase the cost of an average shopping basket,”

“This comes at a time when many families are struggling with the rising cost of living.  A national CDS would also pose a threat to jobs, particularly in the already struggling manufacturing sector,”

“Independent studies have shown time and again that container deposits are extraordinarily expensive.  According to government research, the net cost would be up to $1.76 billion, which is 28 times more expensive than an industry-funded proposal that would deliver a similar reduction in litter and increased recycling rates,” Ms Pickles said.

“It’s important that Australian families understand that they will have to pay not only the cost of the deposits, but also the significant cost of setting up and running the scheme.”

According to the environmental lobby promoting a national container deposit scheme, it would raise $1.78 billion for government over only five years.

“This is money coming out of the pockets of Australian families,” Ms Pickles said.

“The imposition of what would effectively be a container tax would also result in the loss of almost 1,700 jobs per year in the already struggling manufacturing sector,”

“Container deposits are a feel good policy with a billion dollar price tag.  It simply doesn’t add up for Australian families, particularly when there are far cheaper and equally effective policy options on the table for governments to consider,”

“We don’t believe that Australian families want to be hit with yet more increases in the cost of living, as we have seen in the Northern Territory since the introduction of container deposits earlier this year,” concluded Ms Pickles.


Through the COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water, governments are considering a number of policy options to increase packaging recycling and reduce litter.

These include a national container deposit system, whereby a 10 cent deposit would be added to every drink container sold in Australia including milk, fruit juices, water, soft drinks, beer and wine.  A recent study by COAG found that the net cost of a national container deposit system would be between $1.4 - $1.76 billion over 25 years[i].  This is at least 28 times more expensive than a co-regulatory industry-funded proposal that was found to deliver a similar reduction in litter and increased recycling rates.


An open letter, published in The Australian today, has been supported by the following organisations:

Australian Food and Grocery Council            Australian Hotels Association

Australian Industry Group                              Australian National Retailers Association

Australian Workers Union                               Master Grocers Australia

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia             Liquor Retailers Australia

Australian Liquor Stores Association              Packaging Council of Australia

Australian Beverages Council                        National Packaging Covenant Industry Association

More information: Natalie Wimmer AFGC Media Manager (02) 6270 9021 or 0437 379 818.

[i] Source:  Packaging Impacts Consultation Regulation Impact Statement, COAG, December 2011