Queensland’s new recycling scheme is now up and running
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-toend. 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.