Confusion reigns in bottle deposit scheme
THE container deposit scheme which is about to be introduced into NSW may save the environment but it could cost some small businesses their livelihood.
With the scheme due to be introduced across the state on Friday, December 1, confusion still reigns among businesses, particularly those on the Tweed as to exactly how it will work.
For Pickled Pig craft brewery owner Paul Brewer, there have been no clear guidelines as to what is involved and how he is expected to deal with his product going across the border.
Under the scheme, all bottles, cans and plastic containers will carry a logo indicating they can be returned to designated collection sites for a financial refund which will go onto an account.
White those returning the containers will be eligible for 10 cents on each coded container, the cost to Brewer is far greater to comply.
"At this stage, I have received no hard correspondence and the people that I have talked to over the phone are either unclear as to what I should do or seem completely disinterested,” he said.
"The scheme was introduced on November 1 (for retailers) and that means that I have to register every size of container - cans and stubble - that we fill here at $350 per size and we have four different sizes here and then there is the cost per container - for a stubble that's 13.9 cents each.
"It doesn't take much to realise that's a big addition to your production cost and I am only a small brewer, imagine some of our larger local brewers and what that will mean to them and their volumes.”
Mr Brewer said on top of that, he had to include a recycling logo on every can or bottle that leaves his brewery but was still waiting on receiving the official artwork from the government.
"I have already got several thousand dollars worth of printed cans and labels in stock ready to go that don't carry the logo - what am I meant to do with those?” he said.
"As a producer of product, I am the one have to carry the financial load and impost on my beers and have no option but to include that in the price.”
But being close to the border, Mr Brewer pointed out that until such time as Queensland introduced a similar type scheme - mooted for around July next year - he would have to have two different prices lists for his beers and ciders - one for NSW and one for Queensland.
Bottle shops also affected
And brewers aren't the only businesses that are being hit.
The Tweed's small bottle shop owners, hotels and clubs also being placed behind the beer carton on two fronts.
One Tweed head bottle shop owner (who didn't wished to be named) said not only would the independent bottlos and hotel and club bottle shops be forced to add the recycling increase onto their stock prices but they were facing a threat from the larger chains like Dan Murphys and First Choice who would not be putting the increase on initially and would be carrying the cost.
"We have no option but to add the price increase on which will be between $3.71 to $4 on a carton of 24 and around $5 on a 30 pack of cans,” he said.
"It will also mean in increase on ciders, prefixed spirits, soft drinks and bottle water (not spirits or wine), but the large chains, because of their size, can absorb that.
"However for most of us small outlets that are in the suburbs, we have customers who might work in Queensland and live in the Tweed who have told us they can buy their alcohol in Queensland on the way home cheaper - you can't blame them.
"If we were in Grafton or Lismore, this would be as much an issue but because there are a lot of bottle shops close to the border, the impact this will have is significant and puts us at a complete disadvantage.”
The bottle shop opener also pointed out that while you may get back $2.40 from a carton, you would be required to scan in each container at a collection point and then have that credit go onto to a designated account - there would be no cash refunds.
Provest to lobby in Sydney
The plight of the brewers and bottlos hasn't gone unnoticed by Tweed MP Geoff Provest who has been lobby in Sydney on behalf of the Tweed business about the border disadvantage they face.
"I have spoken with the Minister Gabrielle Upton on the impact this is having on the Tweed, how this hasn't really been thought through when it come to the border regions and have suggested perhaps interest free loans to cover costs until Queensland brings something in,” Mr Provest said.
"I have even pointed out to the Minister that some Queensland liquor outlets are advertising that their beer is cheaper than in NSW and telling customers to come across the border for their grog takeaways.
"I would urge any Tweed businesses affected to contact my office as soon as possible so I can mount a case to Minister Upton. It's another example of Sydney not taking into account the ramification of their decision on areas like the Tweed that are so closely intertwined with Queensland.”