The cost of beer and soft drinks in NSW will rise in November as a result of the government’s Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), Return and Earn.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s goal is to reduce the amount of litter in the state by 40 per cent by 2020.

It’s the largest anti-litter initiative NSW has seen; more than 800 reverse vending machines will be set up across the state from December. Using these, consumers will be able to return certain beverage containers for a 10-cent refund.

All containers between 150 millilitres and three litres will be eligible for a refund The exceptions are containers for: wine and spirit; plain milk; flavoured milk; pure fruit or veg juice larger than one litre; and any container for concentrated juice or cordial.

The scheme coordinator, Exchange for Change, will charge suppliers an estimated fee of 11 to 14 cents per container for the first three months, starting November 1. In 2018, once the scheme is up and running, charges will be adjusted and fixed to reflect the actual costs.

That likely means supermarkets and bottle shops will increase their prices at an equal rate, but there has been a critical lack of communication between the NSW government and consumers, so it’s unclear which shops will increase costs and by how much. The exception is Coca-Cola Amatil, which confirmed it will apply an extra 13.59c (plus GST) to every container relevant to the CDS.

“Lots of market forces occur with pricing, and pricing for the program will change over time,” says Peter Bruce, CEO of Exchange for Change. Bruce confirmed that there was no official advice from the government on the affect on consumers. “It’s up to each business – I’ve already seen a lot of variation in the price increase,” he says.

In September 2015, the NSW Government committed to reducing the volume of litter in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020. Return and Earn will complement other litter-reduction initiatives already under way as part of the $802 million Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, to which the Government has promised $50 million over nine years.

The scheme is based on the container-return program that has been running in South Australia for the past 14 years. Bruce says South Australia currently recycles these CDS-scheme-eligible containers at a much higher rate than NSW.

There will be no price increase in neighbouring states.

With additional reporting by Georgia Booth.

returnandearn.org.au