By Andrew Starke

Brewing giant Foster’s has outlined its position on recycling as the beverage industry gears up lobbying efforts to oppose a Federal Government recycling scheme.

The drink container recycling scheme could cost the industry $500 million per year in levies.

Foster’s Group, Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) and Lion Nathan are opposed to a national 10c rebate on bottled and canned drinks and are fighting the proposal both directly and through industry organisations like the Australian Food and Grocery Council and the Australian Beverages Council.

Further meetings with Government are expected to take place over the next couple of weeks but industry insiders believe an extension of the consultation process is more likely than a resolution at this stage.

The National Environmental Protection Council (NEPC) is in favour of a container deposit scheme, which would impose a 10c levy on each drink container sold that could be reclaimed when it was recycled.

“The alternative to container deposit is a scheme that brings together all producers to work collectively to reduce overall waste,” Foster’s communications manager, Troy Hey, told TheShout.

“The good news, it already exists in The National Packaging Covenant and we are strong supporters, members and contributors.”

According to its website, The National Packaging Covenant is a collaborative agreement between Governments and industry based on the principles of product stewardship.

It is designed to minimise the environmental impacts arising from the disposal of used packaging, conserve resources through better design and production processes and facilitate the re-use and recycling of used packaging materials.

“This approach that has taken packaging recycling rates nationally from less than 40 percent to almost 60 percent over the past five years,” Hey said.

“More than 60 projects have been funded under the covenant with the potential to divert an additional 500,000 tonnes from landfill each year.

“It’s not the complete solution but it is effective and together with Council kerbside and public place collection, it is working.

“Importantly, the Covenant approach targets all waste rather than just beverage containers.”

Hey said Foster’s concern with a container deposit approach is that kerbside collection is simpler, cheaper, covers all types of recyclable waste and is more effective.

“Taking beverage containers out of kerbside and into a less efficient, more expensive deposit system not only makes beverage container recycling more expensive, it makes kerbside less efficient,” he said.

“Sometimes the politics and the policy don’t add up. If I ask you if you’d like to get a 10c deposit back on every stubbie, you’d probably say ‘sounds good’.

“If I ask you if you’d like to pay 14c more per bottle, save your containers, drive the stubbie down to you local collection centre, collect a10c return while your kerbside rubbish collection becomes less viable, it becomes a very different question.”

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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