Darren Woolley

About Darren Woolley

Founder and Global CEO, TrinityP3 Marketing. With his background as analytical scientist and creative problem solver, Darren brings unique insights and learnings to the marketing process. He is considered a global thought leader on agency remuneration, search and selection and relationship optimisation.

Time for beverage brands to stop being garbage

Approx Reading Time-10Despite the money and brain power spent on developing beverage brands, they all end up in the same garbage pile. As such, South Australia’s Container Deposit Scheme is long overdue in being taken nationwide.


Some of the world’s most valuable beverage brands are nothing more than garbage. Or at least that is how they end up littering the streets and polluting the waterways of Australia. The packaging these companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars designing and the millions of dollars they spend on marketing and advertising ends up as nothing more than garbage.

Before they point the finger at their own customers for not following their instructions to “Dispose Thoughtfully”, perhaps they are doing exactly what they are told. Perhaps this is exactly what they think of the brand immediately after they consume the contents – to discard it as simply garbage.

There is a solution of course, and it has been operating in South Australia for forty years. The Container Deposit Scheme was introduced in 1975 in South Australia and has been operating successfully since 1977 by encouraging people to return their containers for recycling and receive the deposit they paid at the time of purchase.

Other states have managed to drag their heels on this issue. NSW and Queensland have announced it will be introduced this year or next and Western Australia has plans for its introduction next year. Victoria is holding out, believing it is not necessary.

But I wonder how the marketers, brand managers and even the shareholders of these companies feel about the fact that for all their investment of time, money and effort, these brands still end up being the ugly garbage that litters Australia.

I know of brand managers that will spend hours agonising over how the packaging looks in their latest advertisement, making sure it has taste appeal. But how appealing is it to see your brand and product in the gutter of a street covered in dirt and dust?

Or sales teams spending days making sure the product is stacked, faced and displayed in a way that will create brand preference and increase. But how preferable is it to see your brand and products littering the waterways, making them look like open drains?

First, it is less likely their brands will become garbage and not continue to be a cost. Second, the Container Deposit Scheme becomes a great way for charities and not-for-profits to raise funds. Third and finally, it is the right thing to do.

It is amazing that brands spend so much effort in marketing, advertising and sales and yet they appear to care so little what happens to their brand after the product is consumed.

I can see no reason why these beverage companies would not be encouraging the Container Deposit Scheme being adopted across all Australian states. It cannot be because of the logistics – after all the packaging already carries the details of the South Australian scheme, making this easy to adopt. It cannot be because of the cost implications because after all, it is a deposit, not a tax, refunded when the customer returns the packaging. It cannot be fear because the scheme has had a successful half-century pilot study working in South Australia.

But perhaps these big beverage businesses and brands should consider the benefits.

First, it is infinitely less likely their brands will become garbage and will, in fact, become part of the value chain of the economy and not continue to be a cost. Second, the Container Deposit Scheme becomes a great way for charities and not-for-profits to raise funds. Third and finally, it is the right thing to do.

Stop turning your valuable brands into garbage and incentivise all of us to dispose of your brands thoughtfully when we are finished with it.


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