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21 million units in under a year

Wednesday, 17th October, 2018

Owner of Channing’s Bottle Yard Adrian Channing in front of a mountain of cans. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Owner of Channing’s Bottle Yard Adrian Channing in front of a mountain of cans. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

A report looking into the New South Wales Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) is set to be delivered in December and with only several months left to lodge a submission Channing’s Bottle Yard has been singing its praises. 

The NSW scheme, otherwise known as ‘Return and Earn’, allows individuals to obtain a ten cent refund from certain types of empty drink containers when delivered to collection points like recycling plants. 

The owner of Channing’s Bottle Yard in Broken Hill, Adrian Channing, said the NSW CDS had been “great”, not just for his own business but for people in the area as well. 

“I’ve got a yard in Dareton as well as here. Since December 1st (when the scheme began), we’ve had 15,414 customers here in Broken Hill and a bit over 6,500 in Dareton,” he said.

“The public have embraced it, they’ve loved it.

“The number of units we’ve bought since December 1st is 21 million. It’s not just Broken Hill, you’re talking Wilcannia, Menindee, Ivanhoe, White Cliffs, Tibooburra, Dareton and all the surrounds in the area.”

Mr Channing said part of its success was down to locals already being accustomed to the South Australian scheme.

“We’re a bit different in Broken Hill compared to the rest of the state because we’ve been working on the South Australian deposit scheme for nearly 40 years and I’ve been in this yard for 33 years,” he said.

“The pubic in this area are trained to do it anyway so it’s just progressed on. So, for us to move into Dareton, the response has been tremendous.

“Having said that, we quite often have customers come in and say ‘we haven’t been out here before.’ And I’ve actually asked them ‘how long have you been living in Broken Hill?’ and they say ‘all my life’. 

“So there are new customers coming through all the time and taking part in it.”

The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has been monitoring the scheme since it started last December, with a draft report released several weeks ago.

Some of its recommendations focused on addressing the concerns beverage suppliers had about the money they paid towards the scheme.

How ‘Return and Earn’ is, because beverage suppliers pay the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to administer the scheme, so when individuals go to collect their ten cent refund from Collection Points, those locations aren’t losing money. 

Beverage suppliers can then make up the lost money by increasing drink prices or reducing their number of promotional materials. 

“A lot of the complaints (provided to IPART) would be how the general public is charged nearly fifteen cents a unit when you can only get ten cents back,” said Mr Channing.

“It was always ten cents deposit but how it works is they’ve got to pay for the running of the scheme. 

“We’ve got to make our profit and how can we make it when we only get ten cents if you get charged ten cents for the unit?”

While Adrian’s pricing reflects what the costs were during the scheme’s first few months, according to IPART’s Draft report, “the overall average price increase due to the CDS was 7.5 cents per container, compared to the scheme cost of 9.2 cents per container” during the period November 2017 to July 2018.

With the price differential working in favour of customers and more numbers coming to his Broken Hill and Dareton yards over the months, Mr Channing welcomed moves by other states to bring in their own CDS.

“I know Queensland will start their deposit scheme on the first of November. Then, when they come online you’ve got four of the major states in the country that’ll be a part of it,” he said.

“West Australia is not too far away from it either. Once that happens I reckon it’ll go Australia wide eventually.”

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