Darling Downs residents are embracing Queensland’s new container refund scheme, Containers for Change, with figures showing more than 385,000 containers have been returned in the region since the scheme started on November 1.
In Toowoomba today, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said this was a great start to the scheme.
“Across Queensland, more than 5 million containers have been returned – that’s half a million dollars that has already gone back to Queenslanders and charities and community groups.
“This is a fantastic result so far, and we want to keep building on this momentum.
“Containers for Change is about encouraging more recycling and reducing litter in the environment, by allowing Queenslanders to get 10 cents back for returning their cans and bottles.
“Queenslanders use nearly three billion containers every year and sadly they are the second most commonly littered item in the environment, despite the fact they can be easily recycled.”
Ms Enoch said about 500 new jobs had been created across Queensland thanks to the scheme.
“This is also just the beginning of the scheme, and we expect it to grow as more Queenslanders get on board.”
Ken Noye, CEO of Container Exchange (CoEx) – the organisation responsible for implementing and managing the scheme – said he wanted to continue hearing from community groups who were interested in becoming a physical Donation Point, where residents can give the organisation their eligible containers.
“We have had an exceptional response from community groups and charities wanting to become a Donation Point after recognising the benefits of being a part of the scheme,” he said.
In Toowoomba and the Darling Downs, residents are able to take their containers to refund points that include over-the-counter, drop-off (bag it, tag it, drop it), and reverse vending machine services.
E&E Waste Director Shane McGuire said he was excited to be a part of Containers for Change.
“Since the scheme opened, we have received well over 200,000 containers in total, from a broad cross-section of the community,” Mr McGuire said.
“E&E Waste decided to be part of the scheme for a number or reasons, not least of which is that it helps ‘drought proof’ our existing business by providing a consistent income flow. This has allowed us to put on 12 additional staff over the next six months.
“We also expect to very soon increase the number of refund points we’re operating within the region.
“We believe that any business should be integral to the community it operates within, to create a stable business environment, which is a win/win for everyone.
“Being a Containers for Change refund point is an extension of this principle as it also gives us the ability to actively assist local community organisations, like schools and clubs in their fundraising initiatives.
“An example of this is our new relationship with Clifford Park Special School who do a lot of great work in the community. We have arranged weekly collection of their containers so they can make the most out of the scheme, and will provide them with bags and bins for this purpose.”
Clifford Park Special School Principal Corina Searchfield said they were excited to be part of Containers for Change.
“Our school has had its own recycling facility for many years, collecting recyclable waste materials from our local community and processing them. While having a positive environmental impact on our community, students also learn valuable work related skills,” Ms Searchfield said.
“Containers for Change is giving us the opportunity to further our partnerships within the business and wider Toowoomba community.
“In addition, the funds gained from the scheme will assist us to increase our Recycling Program and to further create a modern work environment where young people with disabilities engage in curricula and vocational activities.”