Queensland gets a container refund program

Queensland will soon have an incentive scheme for recycling drink containers, with consumers earning 10 cents for each eligible drink container recycled.

The state’s container refund scheme is set to start on the first of July this year. Most drink containers between 150ml and 3 litres will be eligible for a refund when returned to designated refund points located throughout the state.

The nuts and bolts of the scheme are still being developed but it is expected to be similar to those already operating in other parts of the country, including SA, NT and the NSW ‘Return and Earn’ scheme, launched in late 2017.

The Queensland Government is hoping that the scheme will help reduce the amount of litter entering the environment, and increase our state’s recycling rate, which is currently one of the lowest in the country, at just 44%.

What containers are included?

The scheme includes most beverage containers between 150ml and 3L made from:

  • Aluminium
  • Glass
  • PET
  • HDPE
  • Steel
  • Cardboard

What containers are excluded?

With beverage containers making up 23% of litter collected in Queensland during Clean Up Australia Day initiatives, the focus of the scheme is on consumption that takes place away from home, aiming to reduce litter. As a result, many larger containers are exempt including:

  • All cordial or juice concentrate containers
  • All containers less than 150ml or more than 3L
  • Containers 1L or greater that contained flavoured milk, pure juice, cask wine or cask water
  • Health tonic containers
  • All plain, unflavoured milk containers
  • Any glass wine bottles

Check out the Queensland Government website for a full list of inclusions and exclusions.

Permanent, temporary and mobile refund points are expected to pop up across the state in time for the launch of the program. It is also expected that scheme will operate reverse vending machines, similar to those in operation in NSW.

Community organisations and schools are predicted to take advantage of the fundraising opportunity by establishing container deposit sites where the 10 cents received for each item will be donated to the organisation.

The costs of operating the scheme and recovering containers for recycling will be covered by the beverage manufacturing industry.

Council kerbside recycling programs will continue to operate and consumers are encouraged to continue using their home recycling bins for all recyclable waste generated while at home.


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