More than 700 million containers have been returned across Queensland since the Containers for Change scheme started nine months ago – enough to stretch around the world twice.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said the popularity of the scheme had far exceeded expectations, with the volume of returned containers about a third higher than predicted.
“As more and more Queenslanders have been getting on board with this recycling scheme, businesses have been embracing the economic and job opportunities.
“More refund points have been opening across the state, and now there are 307 refund points open, which was the target set for November 1 this year.
“This means the scheme is three months ahead of schedule, which is amazing. It is a clear indication that Queenslanders care about recycling and are embracing this scheme.”
Minister Enoch said with 700 million containers returned, more than $70 million has been refunded to individuals and families, charities and community organisations.
“Our state is a much cleaner place thanks to people’s overwhelming enthusiasm to cash in their containers, with an average of around 3 million containers being returned per day,” she said.
“More than 193,000 Queenslanders are now registered under the scheme, which has also helped create more than 600 new jobs across Queensland.”
Ms Enoch said since Containers for Change started, there had been a 35% reduction of containers ending up as litter, and this is expected to increase.
“This scheme is making a real difference in greatly reducing the amount of plastic pollution ending up in our waterways and environment,” she said.
Ken Noye, CEO of Container Exchange (COEX), the not-for-profit organisation that runs the scheme, said the 700 million milestone came at the same time they had reached 307 refund points.
“When the scheme commenced on 1 November 2018, we were set the target of 307 Container Refund Points (CRP) open in 12 months. The opening of this CRP sees us meeting that target three months ahead of schedule and I would like to congratulate the COEX staff, operators and the community for making that possible.”
COEX Chair Mark O’Brien AM said the Queensland Recycling Centre was a great example of opportunities available as part of the scheme.
“We are delighted that we can celebrate 700 million containers returned at our 307th refund point – it’s a local business employing local people and giving residents and community groups the chance to make change,” Mr O’Brien said.
“We will continue to work with business and communities to provide more refund points across the state, ensuring the scheme is accessible to as many Queenslanders as possible.”
Queensland Container Recycling at Loganholme is Queensland’s 307th refund point, which opened this week, and owner Leigh Armstrong said this was a great opportunity for him to start a business in something that matters to him.
“I’ve always been interested in doing more to save the environment, recycling and creating a more sustainable future for myself and family,” Mr Armstrong said.
“The Container Refund Scheme has given me the chance to run my own business while helping to protect the local environment. I’ve also had the chance to start new working relationships with local schools and sporting clubs.”
Charities and community groups are also benefitting from the scheme.
Treasurer of CQ Pet Rescue, Susan Consedine said that CQ Pet Rescue had been a part of the Container for Change scheme since it began.
“Our motivation for becoming involved in the scheme was to have a reliable and sustainable source of income for the rescue that all members of the community could participate in,” she said.
“All funds raised go to the veterinary care of our animals, to get them healthy and ready for their new forever homes when they are adopted.
“We are very enthusiastic participants in the Containers for Change scheme, and will continue to use this as an excellent fundraising source.”