As Queensland marks the first anniversary of the container refund scheme, Containers for Change, today Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch has announced a massive milestone has been reached - one billion containers have now been returned.
“With Queenslanders able to get 10 cents back for recycling their containers, the outstanding results we’ve seen in the first year of the scheme has seen $100 million returned to Queenslanders and community groups,” Ms Enoch said.
“It is clear Queenslanders are enthusiastic about recycling and protecting the environment.
“The scheme has also created around 700 new jobs over the past year, and more than 330 refund points have opened state wide.”
Minister Enoch said the popularity of the scheme – brought in by the Palaszczuk Government – had far exceeded expectations since the beginning.
“The volume of returned containers we have seen over the past year has been about a third higher than predicted.
“On average, we’re currently seeing more than 3.4 million containers a day being returned across the state,” Ms Enoch said.
“And not only is it providing a refund to Queenslanders – it is also helping the environment.
“These containers were the second most littered item in our state, but since the scheme started there has been a greater than 35 per cent reduction in containers ending up as litter.”
Businesses and community organisations have been embracing the economic opportunities that the scheme has created.
“More and more small businesses are getting involved in running refund points, and charities and community groups are also seeing the benefits through fundraising activities.
“Ten cents per container adds up; and in the last 12 months more than $100 million has gone back to individuals, families, community groups and charities, including RSPCA Queensland who have raised about $3500 in donated refunds.”
RSPCA Queensland said the money donated by entering its Containers for Change scheme ID at refund points goes directly into providing emergency care for animals.
“We are very grateful for the money received through the container refund scheme and we urge everyone to consider us when they choose to donate,” spokesperson Michael Beatty said.
“Over 52,000 animals pass through our shelters every year and sadly the numbers of native animals and birds coming into the wildlife hospital has nearly quadrupled in the last six years.”
Minister Enoch has also announced that the Palaszczuk Government is offering funding to more than 100 not-for-profit and community organisations to help the scheme grow and provide a much needed boost to fundraising efforts.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to boosting recycling with well over 100 infrastructure grants being offered to not-for-profit organisations,” Minister Enoch said.
“These grants of up to $10,000 will help community groups, charities and not-for-profit organisations purchase the equipment necessary to be donation points, the refunds from these donated containers going directly back to the community group.”
Ken Noye, the CEO of Container Exchange (COEX), the not-for-profit company appointed to run the Containers for Change scheme, said the scheme supported economic and job growth, with more than 700 jobs created across Queensland, with many in regional areas.
“One of the biggest benefits of the scheme has been the employment opportunities provided to young job-seekers, individuals with a disability, people re-entering the workforce and the long-term unemployed,” Mr Noye said.
“The economic benefits have also reached families, community groups, schools and sporting clubs as a whole new revenue stream has been created.
“I encourage anyone who hasn’t already started cashing in their containers to register for a scheme ID through the Containers for Change website (external site).”
Container refund point operator TOMRA have been a participant of the Containers for Change scheme since its inception.
TOMRA representative Ryan Buzzell said the first birthday of the scheme was a great opportunity to reflect on the success of it and TOMRA’s involvement.
“Across the network, we have 10 sites in operation that has provided employment opportunities, generating more than 66 full-time jobs,” he said.
“We have also been happy to provide a service to the community built around customer experience and ease of use.”
For more information on the Containers for Change scheme visit www.containersforchange.com.au (external site) or call 13 42 42.