Information for manufacturers of wine and pure spirits
The Queensland Government expects compliance with the container refund scheme’s (Scheme) legislative framework including relevant beverage manufacturers taking immediate steps to commence registering products into the Scheme through the COEX portal. Section 99P of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 (the Act) provides that manufacturers of beverage products must have a Container Recovery Agreement in force and display a barcode on containers eligible for a refund under the Scheme to sell products in Queensland.
Container Recovery Agreements
The Department of Environment and Science (the department) acknowledges that onboarding thousands of potential new entrants into the Scheme presents a risk that 100% of relevant Container Recovery Agreements may not be fully executed by the commencement date, creating potential for contravention of Section 99P of the Act.
The department has considered a range of potential compliance scenarios.
Where beverage manufacturers have made best endeavours to enter the registration process in a timely way and prior to 1 November 2023, but a Container Recovery Agreement has not been fully executed through no fault of their own, then a beverage manufacturer making ongoing sales in Queensland will not be considered to be offending against Section 99P of the Act.
Display of barcode
Section 99P of the Act states that a barcode must be displayed on eligible beverage products sold in Queensland.
Consultation with peak wine and spirit organisations indicates that smaller wine and spirit manufacturers are unlikely to have barcodes and will require time to transition to displaying barcodes on products.
The department has discretion in enforcing compliance against this requirement and is taking an awareness and education-first approach to guide the transition.
The department will provide an initial 12-month grace period for new wine and pure spirit manufacturers to comply with the requirement to display a barcode.
Wine and pure spirit manufacturers should note that a barcode is required to complete the product registration process; however, this barcode is not required to be displayed on the container immediately.
It is acknowledged that products produced prior to the end of the grace period may be sold after the grace period ends. It is an overarching principle of the transition period that the department does not expect beverage manufacturers to relabel or over sticker existing stock.
Glass wine and pure spirit bottles that do not display the barcode are eligible for a refund when returned to a container refund point from 1 November 2023.
Section 99X of the Act imposes obligations onto operators of reverse vending machines to, as far as is reasonably practicable, not dispense a refund for a container if it does not display a refund marking and barcode.
Given the commencement date for being able to obtain a refund for eligible wine and spirit bottles from 1 November 2023, and that containers sold prior to the commencement date will likely be presented for refund, combined with the nature of the transitional provisions within the Waste Reduction and Recycling Regulation 2023, operators of reverse vending machines will be meeting the requirements of Section 99X where a refund is paid on an eligible glass wine of spirit container that may not display a refund label or barcode. In these circumstances they will be considered to be meeting the requirements of Section 99X as far as is reasonably practicable throughout the transition period.
More information about support for beverage manufacturers is available on the Container for Change website.