Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Containers for Change milestone

Five billion containers have been refunded through Queensland’s Containers for Change scheme, with more than $500 million going back into the pockets of Queenslanders.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said Queenslanders reached the significant milestone last week, stopping thousands of tonnes of bottles, cans and poppers from ending up in landfill, and collecting cash for it.

“Containers have become too good to waste,” Ms Scanlon says.

“Not only have we reduced the amount of rubbish ending up in waterways, we’ve given new life to thousands of tonnes of recycled materials and created hundreds of good jobs at the same time.”

Resource recovery

The Containers for Change scheme provides a 10-cent refund to customers returning eligible beverage containers to more than 360 refund points across the Queensland-wide network.

Through Containers for Change and the Queensland Government’s $1.1 billion Recycling and Jobs Fund, Queensland has become a powerhouse in the war on waste and for the emerging resource recovery industry.

“More than 800 jobs have been created through the scheme as Queenslanders help us sort, count and process these billions of containers refunded – and we know there’s billions more to come,” Ms Scanlon says.

Minister Scanlon made the announcement at Suncorp Stadium ahead of the 2022 State of Origin decider where, for the first time ever, Origin spectators will be able to use specially marked Containers for Change bins to save thousands of containers from landfill.

Refunds from the containers collected will be distributed to charities and community groups, with more than $7 million donated through container refunds since 2018.

“It’s expected that thousands of drinks in refundable containers will be enjoyed as fans celebrate the game and we want to ensure as many of those as possible are saved from landfill.”

Scheme embraced

National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb says Queensland retailers and shoppers have embraced the state’s Containers for Change scheme, attributing the environmental milestone to the community and government working hand in hand with one another.

“The best part of the scheme is that in keeping rubbish out of waterways and landfills the Queensland Government has created a system that feeds into the economy at such a critical time,” she says.

“We encourage as many more Queenslanders as possible to participate in the Containers for Change scheme that will continue to encourage both profitability and productivity.”

Virginie Marley, interim CEO of Container Exchange the non-for-profit that runs the container refund scheme, says there are more ways than ever for people to cash in or donate their containers.

“In 2022 alone we have added dozens of new container refund points to the network across Queensland, from one of the most remote towns in Australia in Birdsville to some of the country’s business shopping centres, the network has more than 360 container refund points and counting,” she said.

“There are more ways than ever before to use the scheme, including a trial of a free home collection service, drive through depots, bag drops, and reverse vending machines, recyclers can choose what suits their lifestyle.”

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