The NSW Wine Industry Association (NSW Wine) has criticised proposed changes to the state’s container deposit scheme (CDS), announced earlier this week by NSW Environment Minister, James Griffin.

Thee NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal would expand the NSW Return and Earn Scheme to include “glass wine and spirits bottles and larger drink containers.”

NSW Wine President, Mark Bourne, said that although the organisation supports efforts to improve recycling, the proposed expansion doesn’t stack up.

“The total lack of engagement from the NSW EPA and Minister Griffin is very disappointing. This ill-informed proposal, after zero consultation with industry, does not outline in any way how it will further drive a circular economy and has family-owned NSW wineries footing the bill to the tune of over $30m per year,” Bourne commented.

This cost is not included in the consultation papers, but is what NSW Wine estimates to be the true cost of the scheme for winemakers in the state. The organisation noted that many of this will be felt by small and medium sized family businesses, which it says account for more than 75 per cent of the total grape crush in NSW.

NSW Wine regions, like many across the country, have experienced four incredibly difficult years, battling prolonged drought, bushfires and smoke, then COVID-19 lockdowns, floods and crippling export tariffs into China. NSW Wine said many producers will be pushed too far if additional costs are added to the impact of all these challenges.

Ahead of the next state election in March 2023, NSW Wine has urged the Government and Opposition to go back to the drawing board on this plan and undertake “genuine consultation with industry.”

One example of how recycling could be improved, as identified by NSW Wine, is with a fourth kerbside bin for glass, which is currently being rolled out in Victoria. The organisation said government research shows this to deliver greater environmental benefits when it comes to wine bottle recycling.

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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