26 September 2023

Container deposit scheme is on the money

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The Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) has published its final report on the price effect of the Containers for Change scheme, finding it had not resulted in an undue rise in drinks prices.

Chair of the ERA, Steve Edwell said both the cost of running the scheme and the average beverage price rises were very similar to those seen in other Australian States where there were container recycling schemes.

“Consumers can be reassured it does not appear that retailers or drink manufacturers are using Containers for Change as an excuse to push up prices,” Mr Edwell said.

The estimated retail price increases over the first year of the Containers for Change scheme were for non-alcoholic drinks, 13.2c per can in the metropolitan area; for alcoholic drinks, 3.9c per bottle or can in the metropolitan area.

“The average scheme fee is 12.82c per container,” Mr Edwell said.

“That means, on average, the drink price increases seen over the first year of the scheme’s operation are less than, or very close to, the total cost of running the scheme.”

He said the ERA was recommending to Government that price monitoring should not continue.

“We are comfortable that this scheme is not having an undue effect on drink prices, and that consumers seem comfortable with how it is running, so we do not feel there is an ongoing need to monitor drink prices,” Mr Edwell said.

The container deposit recycling scheme began on 1 October 2020. At that time the Government asked the ERA to monitor the scheme’s effect on drink prices over its first year.

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