Beverage giants go to court against NT container deposit scheme

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th February 2013

Coca-Cola Amatil, Schweppes and Lion have launched a Federal Court of Australia action to challenge the legal validity of the Northern Territory’s container deposit scheme.

The beverage giants made an application to have the scheme removed in which they would no longer be required to pay the 10 cent refund per beverage container that is returned.

A Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) spokesperson said that if the application is successful, CCA will move “quickly” to reduce the prices of its Northern Territory products, which will no longer need to cover the cost of the refund.

“The NT scheme, which has been operating for more than 12 months, has been an environmental failure, with 2 out of every 3 containers sold not being recycled – well below the national average,” a CCA spokesperson said.

The Australian Food and Grocery Council CEO Mr Gary Dawson has supported CCA’s data, and in an issued statement said that Northern Territory is “lagging” well below national recycling rates.

“Territorians are currently paying for a scheme that increases their grocery bills and heaps inconvenience on all families, most of whom were already recycling their empties and ‘doing the right thing’ through their kerbside recycling bins,” Mr Dawson said.

“Industry has long warned that there are significant questions over the scheme’s legal underpinnings and that it has only increased costs for consumers while delivering questionable environmental benefits,” Mr Dawson added.

The beverage giants are arguing that the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 deems the container deposit scheme legislation invalid.

Meanwhile, Clean-up Australia has called for Northern Territory consumers to boycott Coca-Cola products over the legal fight, which Clean-up Australia believes will create more pollution if the scheme is cancelled.

A decision by the court is expected in a few weeks.

Coca-Cola Amatil challenged the Northern Territory's current container deposit scheme in court this week.