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

How CEO Santi is changing ITW

April 23, 2014 2:48 pm ET

Scott Santi is showing he can do more than just cut costs at Illinois Tool Works Inc.    More

Image

Unilever puts Dove brand on a MuCell diet

April 23, 2014 1:57 pm ET

New technology employed by Unilever NV in the manufacture of bottles for its Dove Body Wash range of products could end up saving the brand owner up...    More

Image

Coffee roaster looks to improve footprint of single cup systems

April 22, 2014 1:30 pm ET

One of the largest coffee and tea manufacturers in North America has introduced a single-serve beverage capsule intended to curb the waste created by ...    More

Two Eastman buildings among 10 biggest energy savers in national contest

April 22, 2014 11:35 am ET

Two offices at the headquarters of Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, Tenn., ranked in the Top 10 for energy efficiency in the latest Energy Star...    More

Europe's bag use still expected to climb despite possible bag restrictions

April 22, 2014 9:29 am ET

Ceresana, a Germany-based research company, has released a report forecasting that by 2020 the sales volume of bags and sacks in Europe will reach 9.1...    More

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events