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Government defends beverage giants

Coke signNSW Government has defended Coca-Cola Amatil and other beverage companies regarding overseeing the state’s container deposit scheme, despite oppositions against the latest major move.

The Exchange for Change or “return and earn” scheme targets to lessen the number of cans and bottles that are thrown away yearly. Aussies will be paid 10 cents per container at particular designated outlets.

According to AAP, Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi said it amounts to “putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. The beverage industry furiously lobbied against the scheme for decades and now they will run it.”

However, the environment minister Gabrielle Upton has also commented on the joint venture amongst major companies such as Carlton and United Breweries, Asahi, Coopers, Lion and Coca-Cola.

“Exchange for Change will have defined and limited responsibilities and will not set the scheme price or service level. The NSW Environment Protection Authority is responsible for regulating the scheme’s operation – not the scheme co-ordinator,” she told AAP in a statement on Tuesday.

SodaStream Australia managing director, Mark Fenton, has also slammed the NSW Government’s decision.

“This has to be one of the most utterly absurd decisions by the Berejiklian government, who has effectively handed control to the same company who wanted to drive the container deposit scheme off a cliff,” said Fenton.

According to Greenpeace, Coke has surpassed manufacturing 100 billion plastic bottles in 2016. The environmental group said more than 40 million cans and bottles are littered in NSW every summer. Coca-Cola Amatil has also been involved in an ongoing bitter lobby campaign, which opposes the scheme’s introduction across several states. In 2014, the Liberal MP said she was threatened with a “disgraceful” $4 million advertising attack if the Liberal Party adopted a policy to introduce a scheme.

“The CDS is now in the hands of the same company who took the Northern Territory government to court over their introduction of a container deposit scheme and who have made it abundantly clear that opposing container deposit schemes is something every market should push for,” added Fenton.

“The NSW Government has lost the plot if they think giving control of an environmental scheme to one of the world’s largest polluters is a good idea.”

SodaStream said they support the Container Deposit Scheme and believes Australia should introduce the scheme nationwide as a step to address the country’s litter and recycling woes.

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