Container Refunds to expand?

State and territory governments have decided to include wine, spirit, cordial and juice bottles into the successful Container Refund Schemes (CRS) across Australia. This follows a joint letter we organised with the Australian Beverages Council, National Retailers Association, RELOOP, Australian Recyclers Association and Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association.

NSW is intending to be the first to act but has come up against strong lobbying from the wine industry. Their arguments about cost have minimal substance and appear to echo the position taken by the likes of Coke and Lion when they opposed the introduction of CRS.

There is no doubt inclusion of more glass bottles will have a range of benefits. A review by South Australia, found that their involvement allows much more significant high value use and insignificant landfilling, compared to being left in kerbside bins. And in NSW alone, it would mean more than $40m extra dollars each year in refunds to the community.

Boomerang is also keen to further include plain milk and health tonics. They were originally left out due to cost of living concerns, but CRS do not impose a meaningful impact, especially if the household obtains the refund.

With Victoria and Tasmania coming into the system next year, Australia will become the first continent to be fully covered by CRS and with one of the most comprehensive coverage of drink containers. Then there is the issue of refunds for refillables and non-beverage containers to further grow the circular economy…our targets for campaigns in 2023.


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