Soft drink companies welcome Australia decision against container deposits

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: March 7, 2013 12:25 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability Legal Packaging Recycling
Companies & Associations Coca-Cola Co.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Three of Australia's major beverage companies have welcomed a court ruling that a container deposit scheme does not apply to containers imported into Australia's Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory Government introduced a deposit system — commonly called cash-for-containers — in January 2012. Under the program, consumers are refunded 10 cents when they drop off plastic and other containers at collection depots.

But three beverage manufacturers — Sydney-based Coca-Cola Amatil (Aust) Pty. Ltd. (CCA), Melbourne-based Schweppes Australia Pty. Ltd. and Sydney-based Lion Pty. Ltd. — launched legal action in the Federal Court in Sydney, challenged the legality of the Northern Territory's program.

The bottlers argued the scheme conflicts with a federal law governing trade between the states and territories because it requires different production processes for the same product. When the scheme was introduced, it had a temporary 12-month exemption from the federal law.

On March 4 Federal Court Justice John Griffiths ruled that the territory's deposit system does not apply to containers imported into the territory after Jan. 3, 2013.

Griffiths said the proceedings did not consider the scheme's merits or desirability, but focused on legal issues arising between conflicting federal and Northern Territory laws. He said where conflict existed, the federal law "must prevail."

In a media release, CCA said the decision means the "container tax" does not apply to its products sold in the Northern Territory, so it reduced its wholesale prices there on March 5.

CCA said the territory's scheme is "an environmental failure" because only one in three containers sold is recycled, which is below the national average.

"Under current industry-driven recycling schemes, Australia's packaging recycling rate has increased from 39 percent in 2003 to 63 percent in eight years," the company said.

"[Deposit schemes] have consistently been found to be the most expensive and inefficient method of increasing recycling rates. That's why they have been repeatedly considered and repeatedly ruled out for decades by Australian governments."

But Sydney-based Total Environment Centre Executive Director Jeff Angel said an efficient, low-cost deposit scheme will not impose additional costs.

"Not only are there guaranteed environmental benefits, but the financial case is clear. A national [deposit scheme] will produce A$1.8 billion in funds in the first five years — supporting the establishment of hundreds of drop-off centers for containers and other products and other recycling and litter programs."

Angel said the court action is only a "temporary win" for CCA because the Northern Territory Government can apply for a permanent exemption from federal law.

"[The court action] was a desperate move by a company that is trashing its reputation every day," Angel said.

Sydney-based Clean Up Australia CEO Terrie-Ann Johnson said the court's decision is disappointing, but she understands Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills has political support to apply to extend the exemption.


Comments

Soft drink companies welcome Australia decision against container deposits

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: March 7, 2013 12:25 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Adidas phasing out plastic bag use

April 20, 2015 11:50 am ET

Sporting goods company Adidas AG is phasing out the use of plastic bags in its own retail stores as part of a larger effort raise awareness about...    More

Image

Recycling group changes its name to the Recycling Partnership

April 20, 2015 3:10 pm ET

Curbside Value Partnership is no more. But don't worry. The organization that promotes curbside recycling is simply changing its name to the...    More

Image

IPL invests in new molding technology at New Brunswick plant

April 20, 2015 3:46 pm ET

IPL Inc. has invested C$2.04 million (US$1.63 million) to produce lighter weight, injection molded containers at its Edmundston, New Brunswick,...    More

Image

Ford moving forward in carbon fiber for 'high volume' use

April 17, 2015 10:21 am ET

Ford Motor Co. has signed a deal with a carbon-fiber manufacturer to jointly explore “high-volume” automotive uses for the lightweight...    More

Image

Thailand's Royal Group adding thermoforming plant in Indiana

April 17, 2015 11:17 am ET

Royal Interpack North America Inc. is spending $12 million to make recycle-content PET clamshell containers in Anderson, Ind.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events