Wine and spirits bottlers should join the container refund by the beginning of 2023. Frankly it is an embarrassment that they are not already part of the very successful 10cent refund program. The South Australian wine sector seems to be particularly opposed. Their environmental reputation is rightly being questioned – it will become a consumer negative with a possible call for boycotts if they don't join up.
It's not only Boomerang Alliance calling for their participation, but also a wide cross section of business, governments and community groups. We call on South Australia and other state governments to make a quick decision at their next joint Environment Ministers meeting.
There are very good reasons to capture the glass bottles including:
- Glass in kerbside contaminates other recyclables reducing their value and being dumped into landfill; also increasing council costs due to the extra bin weight;
- There is a growing demand for the clean deposit scheme glass to be returned as recycled content into new bottles;
- Reduction in glass litter, improving public land safety and beauty;
- Sorting costs will be significantly reduced at refund depots and handling fees increased - improving their viability.
The recent South Australian review of the state's scheme found tens of millions of dollars extra benefit by including wine and spirit bottles. Across the nation we are looking at hundreds of millions of dollars benefit. Opposition by the wine sector to inclusion in refunds should not be allowed to prevent these important environmental and financial gains. The 10cent refund is minuscule compared to the price of wine.