Brisbane, Australia: According to the Queensland government, its residents use and dispose of nearly three billion beverage containers every year. These containers litter parks, beaches, roadsides, waterways and shopping centres creating not only an unsightly environment but a hazardous one too particularly plastic containers which wreak havoc on nature and wildlife.
To deal with these issues, Queensland introduced a container refund scheme on 1 November 2018, in a big push to promote recycling by incentivising people with a 10 cent refund payment when they collect and return drink containers made of plastic, aluminium and glass. The scheme dubbed “Containers for Change” has now rolled out 230 container refund points across the state which include drop-offs, over-the-counter depots and mobile and pop-up refund points. The number of locations is expected to grow as the scheme matures.
Queensland is hoping to reap great environmental rewards similar to those enjoyed by South Australia. South Australia was the first state in Australia to pass its container deposit legislation back in 1977 and in its 40+ year history, has been an environmental success story. With the legislation securely in place it is little wonder the state has become the nation’s leader in litter reduction and resource recovery with a container return rate of 79.9 percent.
In 2011, the Northern Territory Government introduced its own container deposit scheme modelled on the South Australian scheme. New South Wales followed suit and introduced its container deposit scheme “Return and Earn” which it began rolling out in December 2017.
In implementing its scheme, the Queensland Government hopes to reduce litter and improve resource recovery rates. There are also secondary benefits such as providing new jobs in the recycling and transportation industry, as well as opportunities for social enterprises and community groups to raise funds.
How Containers for Change works
Queenslanders can return eligible containers via a container refund point which can be found across the state.
Containers that are eligible to receive the 10 cent refund include aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and 3L. Ineligible containers include anything smaller or bigger than these sizes and also includes milk, cordial or juice containers, and containers holding spirits and liquers.
While the legislation has been implemented by government, it is Industry-based not-for-profit group Container Exchange (CoEx) that actually runs the Containers for Change scheme in Queensland. The organisation ensures the container refund points are convenient and accessible, but it is the drink manufacturers who take responsibility for the costs of operations and ensure that environmental impacts of empty drink containers are minimised.
The aim of the scheme, of course, is a cleaner environment which is free from litter and pollution. By all accounts. Queensland’s container deposit scheme should deliver this which means a tripe win; one the state, one for the environment and one for the community.
To learn more about Queensland’s scheme, visit containersforchange.com.au.
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