Queens­land’s new re­cy­cling scheme is now up and run­ning

Sunshine Coast Daily - - WORLD - con­tain­ers­for­change.com.au

QUEENS­LAN­DERS can turn trash into cash, with the state’s new con­tainer re­fund scheme of­fer­ing a 10 cent re­fund for each el­i­gi­ble con­tainer re­turned for re­cy­cling.

The new scheme – Con­tain­ers for Change – launched on No­vem­ber 1 and has the goal of re­duc­ing lit­ter flow­ing from the nearly three bil­lion drink con­tain­ers sold in Queens­land each year.

Alby Tay­lor, act­ing chair of Con­tainer Ex­change (COEX) – the or­gan­i­sa­tion tasked with es­tab­lish­ing and run­ning the Con­tainer Re­fund Scheme – said Queens­land had one of the high­est lit­ter­ing rates in the coun­try.

“Forty-five per cent more plas­tic rub­bish is found in this state than in the rest of the coun­try,” Mr Tay­lor said.

“Just one year’s-worth of con­tainer lit­ter in this state would go around the world roughly 10 times if laid end-to-end. Con­tain­ers for Change will help im­prove re­cy­cling rates, re­duce lit­ter and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for char­i­ties, com­mu­nity groups and other not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

The net­work launched with more than 230 re­fund points through­out the state, with that num­ber ex­pected to grow to more than 300.

“We have also es­tab­lished a num­ber of tem­po­rary bag drop lo­ca­tions around the state to en­sure cus­tomers can re­turn their con­tain­ers over the busy launch pe­riod,” Mr Tay­lor said.

The cur­rent lo­ca­tions of the Con­tain­ers for Change re­fund points were pro­posed by op­er­a­tors af­ter an open ten­der process run by COEX.

Ken Noye, COEX chief ex­ec­u­tive, said the statewide process re­ceived a great re­sponse and ac­knowl­edged there was not yet blan­ket cov­er­age through­out the state.

“Some of the more re­mote areas of West­ern Queens­land, far north Queens­land and the Tor­res Strait don’t have op­er­a­tors yet due to the chal­lenges of smaller pop­u­la­tions and vast dis­tances,” Mr Noye said.

“COEX staff have been trav­el­ling to those areas to de­velop sus­tain­able so­lu­tions.”

The State Gov­ern­ment has recog­nised the prob­lems faced by ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties, and is pro­vid­ing $10,000 grants to schools and other not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions to set up do­na­tion points in ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties.

In ad­di­tion, Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der Coun­cils have been en­cour­aged to ap­ply for grants of up to $50,000 to help them take part in the scheme.

More in­for­ma­tion on th­ese grants can be found at qld.gov.au/en­vi­ron­ment/ pol­lu­tion/man­age­ment/waste/ re­cov­ery/fund­ing-grants

Mr Noye said as more mo­bile and fixed col­lec­tion points come on board, ac­cess to re­funds would im­prove.

“We’d love to see com­mu­ni­ties get be­hind this scheme to raise funds for schools, com­mu­nity groups, sport­ing clubs and other not for profit or­gan­i­sa­tions,” he said.

“Ul­ti­mately, the Queens­land en­vi­ron­ment will ben­e­fit from a re­duc­tion of pol­lu­tion in our oceans, rivers and creeks.”

To mark the launch of the scheme, Mackay artist and con­ser­va­tion­ist David Day was com­mis­sioned to de­sign a gi­ant sculp­ture in Bris­bane’s King Ge­orge Square made en­tirely from re­cy­cled drink con­tain­ers.

The in­cred­i­ble art­work of a fish is made of 4000 con­tain­ers, stand­ing 3.08m high and 6m long.

Mr Day lives on the beach at Shoal Point in Mackay and sees the di­rect con­se­quences of lit­ter on the fore­shore.

“By mak­ing a large-scale fish us­ing waste, I hope I’ve em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of tak­ing bet­ter care of our state,” he said.

Visit the Con­tain­ers for Change web­site for more in­for­ma­tion on the scheme and to reg­is­ter for a scheme ID.

SPOT­LIGHT: Artist David Day, who was com­mis­sioned to de­sign the sculp­ture, Big Fish, in Bris­bane’s King Ge­orge Square made from re­cy­cled drink con­tain­ers.

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