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Container Deposits = Extra $10 On Case Of Drinks

Container deposits - back to the future scheme would add up to $10 on a case of drinks

The Packaging Council says the reopening of the debate on increasing the cost of drinks containers to include a refundable deposit harks back to the 1970's when New Zealanders didn't have access to household recycling collections.

Paul Curtis, Executive Director of the Packaging Council said that his members, who represent over 75% of the country's top 100 food and grocery brands, are concerned that consumers are not being told that putting a 10 cent deposit on each container would add an additional $120 million per annum to collection costs.

"It is great that Otago students are getting involved in recycling and we agree with greater provision of public place recycling bins to capture the containers consumed away from home. We support locally based recycling schemes, however to put in place a nationwide returnable bottle system requires a huge investment in infrastructure which would ultimately be funded by the shopper."

"Based on experience around the world where the costs of container deposits have been passed on to the consumer, the cost of a case of beer or soft drinks would increase by up to $10 to cover the distribution and reprocessing costs incurred by having to sort containers by brand. Brand owners and retailers will simply pass these costs on by putting up the price of products"

"Proponents of deposits massively understate these costs because they seem to think that producers will absorb them - well quite frankly, they won't.'

"57% of all packaging is now being recycled and this will increase with the investment by government and industry in public place recycling. Coca Cola Amatil help recycling to the tune of $2.2 million a year by buying recycled plastic for their drink bottles. The Glass Packaging Forum has invested a similar amount to find alternative uses for the equivalent of 314 million glass containers recovered last year. It is these initiatives which will give us the best outcome at the lowest cost rather than adding to our already spiralling household food bills."

Mr Curtis says that a poll on people's attitudes to container deposit taxes conducted by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development showed initial support for a container deposit charge disappears when people are asked to pay for it.

"We can't look at the costs of a container deposit system in isolation. New Zealand food prices have risen by 3.4% this year on the back of rising global food and commodity prices which have been exacerbated by grain shortages; a combination of poor weather and, perversely, more farmers growing crops for biofuel and not for food."

"Aucklanders are facing a 10c tax on petrol, adding $6 to the cost of filling an average 60-litre tank. Many of us have seen double digit growth in our land and water rates over the last three years. And the proposed climate change emissions trading scheme will see costs passed on to consumers eventually with estimates that the cost of petrol will increase 4c a litre from 2009, when oil companies join the scheme."

"With a steady stream of companies moving their manufacturing offshore due to ever rising overhead costs, leading to a 7% decline in New Zealand packaging manufacture over the last year, we have to think very carefully before imposing a further 1 billion dollars of cost over 10 years on industry".


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