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They're at it again

17 June 2012

The Australian Food and Grocery Council [AFGC] spin doctors have jumped onto the ‘tax’ bandwagon’ by releasing a scare campaign designed to position container deposits as a demon tax.

According to Ian Kiernan AO, founder and Chairman of Clean Up Australia, this is yet another example of the industry failing to face its responsibilities to consumers.

“There’s no doubt about it – the food and beverage industry knows how to spin a yarn. They are proud to represent an industry that is making millions of  dollars from consumers who are enticed to buy over-packaged products we generally don’t need, most often in single use containers, the transportation of which is at our cost. Their height of their hypocrisy is to then leave us with the dilemma of how to dispose of the packaging when it is empty.”

“To add insult to injury, the industry they represent is investing millions into a so called ‘public education campaign’ to further hoodwink we consumers into  thinking a 10c deposit on a beverage is going to cost us 20c. I see that this claim is based on figures AFGC members are charging under the NT program. A  program they have publicly attempted to derail since it was announced. And one from which they are profiting.”

Beverage containers as a percentage of rubbish removed by volunteers on Clean Up Australia Day continue to increase. In 2011 they represented 48%, an increase of 15 % over 2010.

Clean Up is concerned that the industry continues to push public place recycling as a solution to this growing beverage container rubbish problem across Australia. Claims that current public place recycling schemes are working just don’t add up.

“It is interesting to note that contamination rates in unsupervised public place recycling are reported to be as high as 10-20%” said Mr Kiernan. “When 5% contamination means rubbish goes to landfill – how does the industry propose to supervise national public place recycling? How do they think this is going to remove the ever increasing level of bottles, cans and lids that volunteers are removing from our parks, bushland, beaches, waterways and streets? You only have to see last week’s reports on rubbish washed into Sydney Harbour to see how well current public place recycling is working. Events such as this are  happening all over the country.”

Claims in the industry scare campaign that a container deposit scheme will cost jobs are unsupportable. “Independent research undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers clearly shows that container deposit schemes create jobs – what’s more they are local jobs that contribute to the green economy. Claims by member organisations of AFGC that labour costs increase under a deposit scheme need to be independently substantiated.”

“We’ve seen these beverage industry sponsored misinformation campaigns before – in Western Australia and more recently in the NT. The AFGC seems to  think the community is stupid. I urge all of my fellow Australians to join with us to show them we are not.”


For further information please contact:
Terrie-Ann Johnson 0408 269 233

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