Container Deposit Scheme

There are some issues with this; big issues.

There is a solution which will reduce some of them – WALGA.

Whilst I think the whole thing is a bit of a virtue signalling con, the purported benefits include reducing litter and increasing recycling which would be a good result. However, if you’re one of the idiots who’d throw an empty can out of your car window, I doubt the lure of 10 cents will change your warped mindset.

Besides the fact that most people use their kerbside collection quite happily, and the container deposit scheme now requires you to take a drive somewhere to do your recycling (if you want your money back), the issues are as follows:

It’s a tax.

The cost of purchases are going to increase, and not just by 10 cents a container. The infrastructure required to run the scheme will necessitate and increase of closer to 15 cents per container; maybe more.  So, on a carton of beer, expect to pay $3.60 more. A $40 carton becomes $43.60 which is a 9% increase. If however you buy a pack of water from a supermarket, the increase is far more significant. Woolworths 24x600ml packs will rise from $6 to $9.60; a 60% increase.

It’s unjust & unfair.

The “battlers” (which is just about everyone) get hit far more than the affluent. As illustrated above, the percentage price impact is not consistent. The lower the value of the purchase, the higher the percent increase. Buy an $80 carton of beer and the percentage increase drops from 9% to 4.5%.

Government stuff things up – particularly when they’re in a hurry.

They don’t do it deliberately, it’s just how it normally works out. The extent of the stuff-up is sometimes hard to fully predict as the devil is always in the detail. NSW has a container deposit scheme and in their lack of wisdom, the government appointed the five biggest drink companies to set up and run the scheme. Due to only about 13% of containers being brought back, the drink companies are pocketing 10 cents on the remaining 87% of containers not being returned. This is estimated to be a staggering $34 million a month. That’s $34 million a month going from the pockets of consumers in NSW to major Australian and international companies.

So who is going to get the money in WA? Because we will all pay the 15 cent tax on containers, but not all containers will be returned. Definitely someone drinking a $100 bottle of wine won’t be hunting out the closest refund location for their 10 cents, and probably most people will still use the kerbside bin for their empty carton of stubbies.

So who gets the money?

This is where the State government has an opportunity to shine. Appoint WALGA to do it. WALGA has the ability to work with local governments and find suitable refund locations. Local governments are already involved in waste and have resources and infrastructure to take the scheme on.

WALGA will make a bucket load of money from this endeavour, which will then flow through to the local governments which are participating. This in turn will either reduce your local government rates or reduce the amount the State needs to subsidise local governments.