Containers for change looks to expand

8 November 2022

Queensland’s popular Containers for Change program could soon be expanded to include glass wine and spirit bottles to ramp up recycling, put money back into the pockets of Queenslanders and charities, and protect the state’s environment and great lifestyle.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced the Queensland Government would soon gauge the community’s views on growing the scheme, which has already seen more than 5.5 billion containers recycled through refund points and $540 million in refunds issued since it was launched in 2018.

“Queenslanders have cashed in on Containers for Change,” the Premier said.

“It’s stopped billions of containers from ending up in our waterways and environment, thrown millions of dollars behind local groups and supported upwards of 800 good jobs at 359 facilities across the state.”

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said before the Palaszczuk Government introduced containers for change, only 18 per cent of beverage containers were recovered and recycled.

“Today, that number has grown threefold to 65 per cent,” the Minister said.

“It’s a huge achievement, but there’s still more to do.

Currently, the containers for change program accepts most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and 3L.

“Making more containers eligible for refunds makes it easier for people to recycle, particularly in more regional and remote communities where they mightn’t have a recycling bin.

“From the perspective of Queensland’s fast-growing recycling industry, it also means beverage containers can be sorted and manufactured into new products quicker.

“Of course, we want to make sure that any decision to expand the scheme to include wine and spirit bottles is one that is backed by the community, so we’ll be going out next month to Queenslanders to get their feedback.”

Boomerang Alliance’s Toby Hutcheon said the Queensland container refund scheme (CRS) has increased the collection and recycling of beer bottles so it makes absolute sense to also include wine and spirit bottles in the collection scheme.

“Including wine and spirit bottles in the CRS has the support of many other stakeholders including the beverage industry, retail association and the recycling industry,” Mr Hutcheon said.

“In the many community forums the Boomerang Alliance conducted on the CRS, the main question everyone asked was; why beer bottles were included and not wine and spirit bottles.

“We are confident that this public consultation will confirm overwhelming public support for including wine and spirit bottles on the CRS.”

Geoff Parker, CEO of the Australian Beverages Council said as proud product stewards of container refund schemes the non-alcoholic drinks industry fully supports the Government’s planned review.

“We know Queenslanders care for the environment and want to save even more drinks containers from ending up in landfill by being recycled through the Containers for Change scheme,” Mr Parker said.

Minister Scanlon said in addition to community consultation, a discussion paper would also be released for industry to give feedback on.

“Through that process, we’ll be able to determine not only how Queenslanders want the scheme to be expanded but also when we can roll it out, and how it’ll fit in seamlessly with the current program,” Minister Scanlon said.

“We want to see any expansion happen as soon as possible, but there will be a lot of work that’ll need to happen behind the scenes to make it happen.”

Consultation is expected to launch in December and run through to February 2023.

Find out more about Queensland’s Containers for Change scheme and how your change can help our native wildlife.

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