Soft drink, beer prices set to rise because of container deposit scheme

Going up: Westside Hotel Bottleshop manager Gerard Allen and licensee Rod Webster are frustrated the container deposit scheme will drive up the price of beer. Photo: MARK RAYNER
Going up: Westside Hotel Bottleshop manager Gerard Allen and licensee Rod Webster are frustrated the container deposit scheme will drive up the price of beer. Photo: MARK RAYNER

Picking up a carton of beer or bottle of soft drink will cost more from Wednesday as price rises associated with the NSW government’s container deposit scheme (CDS) kick in.

The scheme begins on December 1 but the price rise starts a month early to help fund its introduction.

Glass bottles and aluminium cans used to hold most alcohol or soft drink will be included in the scheme with each individual bottle or can of drink expected to cost an additional 15 to 20 cents.

For a carton of 24 cans or bottles, that will mean an increase of approximately $4 with consumers able to claim back 10 cents for every container they return to authorised collection points.

Bottle shops are expected to be among the worst affected by the changes. Many have been displaying signs detailing the expected price rises and explaining the rise is related to the CDS.

Westside Hotel Bottleshop licensee Rod Webster said they had been trying to educate customers on the changes to minimise the impact.

“It’s an added cost for the customer. It might be around 15-20 cents for a single unit, $1 for six packs, around $3-4 for a carton of stubbies and $4-5 for a 30-pack of cans,” he said.

“It will also impact anyone who walks into a supermarket to buy a bottle of Coke so it’s going to be widespread.

“We don’t really know what it will mean for sales yet. It certainly could have an impact. Some suppliers have said they are expecting a 5-10 per cent drop which would be pretty serious.”

One independent bottleshop manager, who didn’t want to be identified, said he feared the scheme would drive customers to major retailers.

He said some chains had warehouses full of stock purchased before the price rise took place that would allow them to maintain lower prices until after the smaller stores, to gain a competitive advantage.

Mr Webster said he expected all stores would pass the cost and said he couldn’t see anybody absorbing the cost themselves.

Wine and spirits bottles will not be affected by the rises and won’t be eligible for the 10 cent rebate under the scheme.

Milk, orange juice and cordial containers over one litre will also be exempt.