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Customers fume as Coles raises prices after recycling scheme begins

The new prices are set to impact 'a number of products'.

Coles customers in one Aussie state are scratching their heads after noticing a sign plastered to a number of shopper favourites, warning them over a "new price increase" coming to effect on a "number of products".

As the nation's cost-of-living crisis continues to cause hip-pocket pain at the checkout, Aussies have become increasingly frustrated at the seemingly endless price hikes. With stubborn inflation taking longer than expected to subside, and the cost of many grocery staples still on the way up, times are tough for millions around the country.

Now, it's emerged the latest casualties are bottle, can and carton products sold at Coles in Victoria.

A sign posted to Coles's juice range.
The new container deposit scheme in Victoria has resulted in supermarket price hikes. Source: Reddit.

New container deposit scheme sees price increases in aisles

One frustrated shopper snapped a picture of the new signage alerting customers to the increase, sharing it online over the weekend beside the caption "Not happy Jan".

"Victoria's Container Deposit Scheme (CDS Vic) commenced on 1 November 2023. This has resulted in price increases coming into effect on a number of bottle, can and carton products we stock," the sign, slapped onto a popular brand of juice, read.

"CDS Vic rewards Victorians with a 10-cent refund for every eligible bottle, can and carton they return to a refund point."

While many pointed out that similar price increases — intended to facilitate the cost of running and operating the scheme — had occurred in other states that had introduced return-and-earn programs, others were incensed by the move, branding the entire process "pointless".

The Reverse Vending Machine.
The Reverse Vending Machine is an important part of Victoria's Container Deposit Scheme. Source: Supplied

"Government gives 10c back, stores increase price by more than 10c. It's a f***king cartel pretending to be a supermarket," one customer said. "They will literally monetise every scenario available. This was highly predictable. It undoes the benefit to the customer unless the customer jumps through extra hurdles to recoup the cost."

'Always the case' in other states, shopper says

"This has always been the case in other states too, the extra [cost] is to facilitate the scheme itself, it cost money to run, big surprise!" said another shopper. "But that’s why I’ve always thought it’s stupid, just throw your cans in the recycling and skip this unnecessary extra step."

They went on to suggest that though some struggle seeing past the increase at the checkout, overall it may encourage more recycling.

"Unfortunately some people don’t put their recycling in the right bin so this helps with that," they said. "But if we could all just do the right thing this whole thing would be pointless."

Victoria is the latest state to introduce a container deposit scheme after South Australia in 1977, NSW in 2017, Queensland in 2018 and Western Australian in 2020.

Launched on November 1, the container deposit scheme aims to increase recycling while offering consumers a "convenient and accessible" way to drop off their used products.

"Victoria's Container Deposit Scheme is funded by the beverage industry," a spokesperson for the Victorian government told Yahoo News Australia previously, "it will reduce litter by up to half and contribute to the circular economy through increased recycling."

It's understood the government expects beverage producers to pass on the cost of running the CDS to consumers, and drink prices in Victoria are likely to rise as a result.

Coles has been contacted for comment over which products are set to be impacted.

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Yahoo Australia