Queensland Container Refund
A Container Refund Scheme introduced in 2018 after over 2 years of planning should be a well thought out and planned cost effective scheme that works from the outset with minimal change required by those using it? Right? Well not in Queensland nor the rest of Australia it seems.
Far far away in Germany they have a container refund scheme (called the Pfandsystem – the German word for Deposit is Pfand) that just works (well mostly but more on this later), visit almost any supermarket or bottle shop and deposit your bottles or cans (containers) into a Reverse Vending Machine at the entry and receive a coupon that is redeemable in that store for goods or cash.
So what system did they choose in Queensland? Surely we would have learnt from the South Australia system that requires people to drive to depots and queue on a Saturday morning to cash in their containers? Not really because in Queensland we have chosen to have Container Refund Points that are mostly manual sorting and counting with the occasional Reverse Vending Machine. If you use one of the rare Reverse Vending Machine locations it depends on the recycling company as to how you are paid.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch knows the Queensland scheme is under the spotlight by other states.
“Our scheme has been developed following extensive consultation, and we are proud with the model that has been developed,” Ms Enoch said.
This extensive consultation was a four week period of public submissions where they received 2600 individual submissions and 34 from Organisations. Breaking down the individual figure shows that 1724 were via a petition by the Australian Marine Conservation Society, a further 858 from members of the Boomerang Alliance (I assume form letters) which means there were only 18 real submissions and one of these was against a Container Refund Scheme.
To be proud of the model that they “developed” is hard to understand, they copied the same outdated model that the other states have adopted and have ignored overseas experience.
COEX Board Acting Chair Alby Taylor said
“Our aim is to build a sustainable, world-class container refund scheme.”
The phrase world-class is thrown around by politicians when trying to sell us on their idiotic plans by pretending to the masses that we are among the world’s best and this usage of the phrase is no exception.
It will become apparent that the Queensland Container Refund Scheme is as far from world-class that you can get.
The scheme is operated by COEX (Containers Exchange) that operates under the name Containers for Change and funded by the beverage manufacturers who have to pay the operating costs that range from the cost of collection, sorting, counting, transport and so on but they have passed these costs on to the consumer.
Every three months the cost of the scheme will be reassessed and adjusted.
Mr Alby Taylor, Container Exchange Board Chair, indicated that the estimated weighted average cost for the start of the Queensland scheme was 10.2 cents per container supplied.
|Material Type [source]||Cents per unit sold (ex GST)|
|Expected weighted average by number of containers sold||10.2|
This example from Woolworths shows a 24 pack of Coke at $20 will now cost $22.72. GST is also paid on the deposit but this is not refunded so effectively you pay 11c per container plus a share of the running costs and you are only refunded 10c per container.
$20 + $2.47 deposit and administration + $0.25 GST = $22.72.
24 containers x 10.2c = $2.45 extra, the Woolworths example is 11.3c. The public have been misled again.
In Germany the cost of the product is shown separately and the Pfand is shown as an additional price on the shelf. This is much more transparent and the other benefit of showing it as a separate price is that you know what you can return to get your deposit back.
The cost of operation for 8 months (November 2018 to June 2019) was
- Revenue of $195,573,000 (deposit on containers sold and sale of recycled goods).
- Container Refund Expense of $54,800,000 (refund to consumers for deposits)
- Surplus after costs $27,927,000 (profit)
- Operation costs $140,773,000
Only around 28% was returned to consumers, the rest was taken in running costs in what is an incredibly inefficient operation.
Full details can be found in the Container Exchange Annual Report 2018-2019 | Queensland Container Refund Scheme
There are a multitude of options for Refunds and these vary from site to site and from region to region (there are 14 different regions setup for this scheme). Bottles and cans purchased from another state are not eligible for the refund.
Aside from the issues with Container Refund Points in the next section just getting paid can be an exercise in frustration requiring lengthy complaints to obtain small refunds.
You can create a Scheme Account with Containers for Change (COEX) and supply your bank details for refunds into your bank account. There are a number of references to an app called Containers for Change but this does not seem to exist. Many of the Container Refund Points will be Drop-off where you drop off your containers in bags and these are manually counted with the deposit transferred to your bank account two to three weeks later.
Some Container Refund Points will offer cash refunds.
Most Container Refund Points will offer donations as an option.
At TOMRA sites you can link their app with your PayPal account and receive your refund from Reverse Vending Machines this way.
TOMRA sites are affiliated with Woolworths and will offer you a Woolsworths voucher, Envirobank sites are affiliated with Coles and will offer you a Coles voucher. The voucher at TOMRA sites will be via the app if you used it otherwise it will be via paper voucher.
Recycling Locations (Container Refund Points)
The government claims that over 230 CRPs are available from day one however the 241 on the list that 40 are TBA! See list below. There are only 201 locations available from day one according to the list provided by the government and further some of the locations are “pop up” facilities that will only operate on an part-time basis like weekends.
A searchable map is available on the Containers for Change Website.
There are five types of Contain Refund Points, depots, drop-offs, Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs), mobile and pop-ups, and Donation Points.
The population of Queensland is 4.691 million (December 2013) so there is one site per 23,338 people.
|Acacia Ridge||28 Elizabeth Street - Vinnies||Drop off - Return-It|
|Agnes Waters||91 Rocky Crossing||Mobile - CQ Recycling|
|Albany Creek||Albany Creek Road and Wruck Crescent||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Alexandra Headland||167 Alexandra Parade||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Annandale||Annandale Central||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Annerley||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Arana Hills||5/131 Bunya Road||Depot - U Can Recycle|
|Archerfield||17 Boniface Street - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Arundel||11 Byth Street - AEIOU||Drop off - Return-It|
|Ashmore||1/16 Hinde Street||Depot - Envirobank Recycling|
|Aspley||Aspley Hypermarket||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Atherton||Railway Line - Vinnies||Drop off - Return-It|
|Banyo||915 Nudgee Road||Depot - Envirobank Recycling|
|Bargara||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Beenleigh||61 Alamein Street - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Benowa||Benowa Village||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Bigerra Waters||Treasure Cove Shopping Centre - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Biggenden||27 Edward Stret||Mobile - U Can Recycle|
|Bilinga||Bilinga Surf Life Saving Club||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Biloela||156 Calvale Road||Depot - Biloela Recycling|
|Blackwater||Capricorn Highway||Depot - Kanga Bins|
|Boonah||High Street - Vinnies||Depot - Return-It|
|Bowen||Bowen Bowls Club||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Brendale||256 Leitchs Road - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Brighton||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Broadbeach||Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Bromelton||36 Waste Facility Road||Drop off - Beaudesert Transfer Station|
|Browns Plains||58 Eastern Road - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Browns Plains||Cnr Browns Plains Road and Mt Lindesay Highway||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Bucasia||TBA||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Buderim||10 Kayleigh Drive||Depot - Envirobank Recycling|
|Bundaberg||31-33 Victoria Street||Depot - ABC Recycling|
|Bundaberg||78 University Drive||Depot - Impact Community Services|
|Bundaberg||70 Princess Street - Lifeline||Drop off - Return-It|
|Bundaberg North||4/121 George Street||Depot - CQ Recycling|
|Bundall||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Bungalow||152 Newell Street||Depot - IMODE|
|Burkedin||32876 Bruce Highway||Depot - AMDETT Services and Plastic Recycling|
|Burleigh Heads||5-7 Kortum Drive - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Burleigh Waters||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Burleigh Waters||Treetops Plaza||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Burnett Heads||699 Bundaberg-Bargara Road||Mobile - CQ Recycling|
|Burpengary||290 Bruce Highway - Eastern Service Road - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Burpengary||Burpengary Central Shopping Centre||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Caboolture||16 Machinery Parade||Depot - Caboolture Scrap Metal|
|Caboolture||686 The Abbey Place||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Cairns||Franzmann Street||Depot - Palm Tree Recyclers|
|Calliope||Calliope Bunting Park - Archer Street||Mobile - CQ Recycling|
|Caloundra||1 Spender Lane||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Cannon Hill||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Cannonvale||3102 Shute Harbour Road - Vinnies||Drop off - Return-It|
|Canungra||2036 Beaudesert - Nerang Road||Drop Off - Canungra Transfer Station|
|Capalaba||16/82 Redland Bay Road||Depot - Advanced Metal Recyclers|
|Capalaba||6 Merrit Street (Lifeline)||Drop off - Return-It|
|Capalaba||7/71 Redland Bay Road - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Capella||5 Hibernia Road||Depot - Kanga Bins|
|Charters Towers||50 Aland Street||Depot - Cash 4 Containers|
|Cherbourg||Stan Mickelo Drive||Depot - Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council|
|Childers||71 Churchill Street||Mobile - U Can Recycle|
|Chinchilla||19 Malduf Street||Depot - Western Downs Outreach Project|
|Clermont||Clermont Grand Hotel||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Cleveland||25-32 Shore Street - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Collinsville||Stanley Street||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Coochiemudlo Island||Coochiemudlo Surf Life Saving Club||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Cooktown||MacMillan Street||Depot - Auwaste|
|Coolangatta||2 Snapper Rocks Road||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Coolum Beach||1775-1779 David Low Way||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Crestmead||67-69 Rai Drive||Depot - TOMRA|
|Currajong||216-230 Woolcock Street - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Currumbin||741 Pacific Parade||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Dalby||95 Cunningham Street - Lifelie||Drop off - Return-It|
|Darra||18 Sumners Road||Depot - The Big Red Shed|
|Deeragun||TBC||Mobile drop off|
|Dicky Beach||Dicky Beach Surf Life Saving Club||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Drayton||Anzac Avenue and Boothby Street - Lifeline||Drop off - Return-It|
|Dugandan||10 Evans Road||Drop off - Boonah Transfer Station|
|Dystart||Jolly Collier Hotel||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Eagleby||104 River Hills Road - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Earlville||479 Mulgrave Road - Vinnies||Drop off - Return-It|
|Emerald||10 Glasson Street||Depot - Return-It|
|Emu Park||Emu Park, Scenic Hwy||Depot - Kanga Bins|
|Esk||2 Heap Street||Mobile - Pipeliner Park|
|Fernvale||1483 Brisbane Valley Highway||Mobile - Fernvale Futures Centre|
|Forest Lake||TBA||Drop off - The Big Red Shed|
|Garbutt||37-41 Mackley Street||Depot - Return-It|
|Gatton||64 Fords Road||Depot - Gatton Tip Shop|
|Gatton||9 Byrne Street - Vinnies||Drop off - Return-It|
|Gayndah||Burnett Hotel||Mobile - U Can Recycle|
|Geebung||428 Bilsen Road||Depot - TOMRA|
|Geebung||8 Railway Parade - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Gladstone||66 Yarroon Street||Depot - CQ Recycling|
|Gladstone||29 Chappell Street||Depot - Kanga Bins|
|Gladstone||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Goondiwindi||81 Hungerford Street||Depot - E&E Waste|
|Gordonvale||62 Norman Street - Vinnies||Drop off - Return-It|
|Gordonvale||1 Brody Street||Depot - Cash 4 Containers|
|Gracemere||Corner of Allen Road and Lucas Street||Depot - Kanga Bins|
|Gympie||Smith Street||Depot - Return-It|
|Hervey Bay||9 Industrial Avenue||Drop off - Cleanaway|
|Hillcrest||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Howard||79 William Street||Mobile - U Can Recycle|
|Inala||TBA||Drop off - The Big Red Shed|
|Ingham||21 Challands Street||Depot - MAMS|
|Inglewood||750 Pump Station Road||Drop Off - E&E Waste|
|Innisfail||5-7 Dickson Road||Depot - MAMS|
|Innisfail||42 Ernest Street - Vinnies||Drop off - Return-It|
|Jimboomba||TBA||Depot - Return-It|
|Jindalee||24 Goggs Road||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Kallangur||1473 Anzac Avenue - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Karalee||259-277 Mt Crosby Road||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Kedron||46 Millway Street||Depot - Return-It|
|Kenmore||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Kensington||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Keperra||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Kilcoy||32-40 D'Aguilar Highway||Mobile - Yowie Park|
|Kilkivan||27 Bligh Street||Depot - Post Office|
|Kingaroy||189 Kingaroy Street - Lifeline||Drop off - Return-It|
|Kunda Park||5 Pike Street||Depot - TOMRA|
|Laidley||63 Burgess Road||Drop off - Laidley Transfer Station|
|Lawnton||690 Gympie Road - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Logan Central||114 Wembley Road - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Logan Central||Woodridge Plaza||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Loganholme||61-65 Bryants Road||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Lutwyche||554 Lutwyche Road||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|MacGregor||555 Kessels Road||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Mackay||TBA||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Mackay||287 Shakespeare Street - Lifeline||Drop off - Return-It|
|Main Beach||Southport Surf Life Saving Club||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Manunda||16 Adelaide Street||Drop off - Return-It|
|Marcoola||64-76 Marcoola Esplanada||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Mareeba||138 Walsh Street - Vinnies||Drop off - Return-It|
|Mareeba||11 Bowers Street||Depot - Cash 4 Containers|
|Margate||25 Beaconsfield Street - Lifeline||Drop off - Return-It|
|Marian||TBA||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Maroochydore||25 First Avenue||Drop off - Return-It|
|Maryborough||3 Kingston Drive||Depot - U Can Recycle|
|Maryborough||300 Kent Street||Drop off - U Can Recycle|
|Maryborough||20 Gympie Road - Lifeline||Drop off - Return-It|
|Meadowbrook||L13 Facilities Lane - AEIOU||Drop off - Return-It|
|Mermaid Beach||TBA||Drop off - Return-It|
|Mermaid Beach||172 Hedges Avenue||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Mermaid Beach||Nobby's Beach Life Saving Club||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Middlemount||Middlemount Hotel||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Molendinar||3-9 Precision Drive - Salvos||Depot - Return-It|
|Monto||Grand Hotel||Mobile - U Can Recycle|
|Mooloolaba||Mooloolaba Surf Life Saving Club||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Moranbah||Black Nugget Hotel||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Morayfield||158-166 Morayfield Road - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Mossman||13/5 Pioneer Close||Depot - Port Douglas Recycling|
|Mount Isa||Jessop Drive||Mount Isa City Council|
|Mount Morgan||78 James Street||Depot - K.L Webster|
|Mount Pleasant||Grand View Drive||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Moura||44-46 Dawson Highway||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Mudgeeraba||196-206 Highfield Drive||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Murarrie||913 Lytton Road||Depot - United Scrap Metal|
|Nambour||9-13 Mill Street||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling|
|Nebo||TBA||Drop off - Anything Environmental|
|Nerang||23-25 Station Street - Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Newstead||52 Doggett Street -Salvos||Drop off - Return-It|
|Newtown||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Noosa Heads||Noosa Fair Shopping Centre, 10 Lanyana Way||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Noosaville||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|North Mackay||John Breen Park, Malcolmson Street, Malcolmson St||Drop off- Return-It|
|North Mackay||Bassett St, Cnr Brewers Rd & Broad St||Drop off- Return-It|
|Oakey||77 Campbell Street||Depot - Post Office|
|Ooralea||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Ormiston||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Oxenford||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Oxley||63 Factory Road - Vinnies||Drop off- Return-It|
|Paget||19 Interlink Court||Depot - Return-It|
|Paget||42 Crichtons Road - Incredables Depot||Depot - Return-It|
|Palm Beach||2 Eighth Avenue - Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Palm Beach||TBA||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Palm Island||48 The Esplanade||Depot- Return-It|
|Parkhurst||334 Leichhardt Street||Depot- Return-It|
|Peregian Springs||Peregian Springs Shopping Centre, 1 Ridgeview Drive||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Pialba||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Pittsworth||37 Grevillea Street, PO Box 432||Depot- Pittsworth Metals|
|Proserpine||Proserpine Metropole Hotel, 80 Main St||Drop off- Return-It|
|Raceview||30 East Owen street||Drop off- Return-It|
|Red Hill||80 Gelnrosa Road - Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Redbank Plains||Redbank Plains Rd & Argyle St||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Redcliffe||Peninsula Surf Life Saving Club, Lot 1 Marine Parade||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Redcliffe||Ashmole Road & Klingner Road||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Rosewood||25 John Street - Vinnies||Depot - Return-It|
|Rothwell||739 Deception Bay Road - Salvos||Drop Off - Return-It|
|Runaway Bay||Runaway Bay Shopping Village, Cnr Bayview St & Lae Drv||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Rural View||Northern Beaches, Carl Court, 2 Rosewood Drive||Drop Off - Return-It|
|Salisbury||655 Toohey Road||Depot - TOMRA Collection|
|Samford Valley||Samford Vally Commons, Mt Samson Road||Depot - Carticus Projects Pty Ltd|
|Sandgate||77 Rainbow Street - Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Sarina||Sarina Leagues Club, Broad St||Drop off- Return-It|
|Sarina||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Seaforth||Seaforth Reserve Road||Drop off- Return-It|
|Seventeen Mile Rocks||9 Counihan Road||Depot - TOMRA Collection|
|Sherwood||450 Sherwood Road - Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Sinnamon Park||532 Seventeen Mile Rocks Road - Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Slacks Creek||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|South Mackay||Milton Street South Mackay||Drop off- Return-It|
|South Toowoomba||689-691 Ruthven Street||Drop off- Return-It|
|Southport||15 Nind Street - Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Springfield||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Springsure||53 Gap Street||Depot- Kanga Bins|
|St Lucia||342 Carmody Road||Depot - Post Office|
|Stanthorpe||14 Maryland St||Depot - Post Office|
|Stratford||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Sumner Park||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Sunnybank||Sunnybank Plaza Shopping Centre, 358 Mains Rd||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Surfers Paradise||51 Garfield Terrace||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Tamborine Mountain||137 Knoll Rd||Drop off- Return-It|
|Taroom||14 Yaldwyn Street||Depot - Kanga Bins|
|Texas||Texas-Inglewood Road||Drop off- Return-It|
|Thuringowa Central||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Tingalpa||302-308 New Cleveland Road||Depot - TOMRA Collection|
|Tingalpa||1469 Wynnum Road||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Toowoomba||3/19 Carrington Road||Depot - E & E Waste|
|Toowoomba||169 James Street||Depot - TOMRA Collection|
|Townsville||275 Flinders Street - Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Townsville||Unit 2/14 Keane Street||Depot - Reef Townsville Site|
|Tugun||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Tully||Tully Showground - Butler Street||Mobile - Tully Mobile|
|Tully||26/58 Butler Street - Vinnies||Drop off- Return-It|
|Underwood||3255 Logan Road - Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Varsity Lakes||2 Flint Court||Depot - TOMRA Collection|
|Victoria Point||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Walkerston||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Warwick||30 King Street - lifeline||Drop off- Return-It|
|West End||281 Montague Road||Depot - TOMRA Collection|
|West End||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|West Ipswich||355 Brisbane Street||Depot - TOMRA Collection|
|West Ipswich||TBA||Depot - Return-It|
|Woorabinda||116 Munns Street||Depot - Kanga Bins|
|Woorim||TBA||Drop off- Return-It|
|Woree||14 Spoto Street - Vinnies||Depot - Return-It|
|Wynnum||119 Bay Terrace - Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Wynnum West||Wynnum Plaza Shopping Centre, 2021 Wynnum Rd||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Yandina||TBA||Depot - Return-It|
|Yarrabah||The Esplanade||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Cash 4 Containers|
Queensland’s container refund scheme commenced on 1 November 2018, with more than 230 container refund points in operation across the state. The number of these sites will continue to grow as the scheme rolls out.
There are currently 33 locations in the Brisbane area, however if you remove the small drop off locations that are an add-on to an existing retail location such as Salvos, Vinnies and Post Offices the number drops to 17 and if we only look at locations that have Reverse Vending Machines this drops to 9.
Nine locations with Reverse Vending Machines to service a population of 2.177 million people (as at 2014). Looking at all 33 locations this is 65,969 people per location, taking out the smaller add-on locations this is 17 locations each servicing 128,058 people and the Reverse Vending Machine locations have to service 241,888 people.
Looking at two of the larger facilities with Reverse Vending Machines in Brisbane the TOMRA site at West End will have parking for 35 vehicles and Geebung with parking for 13 vehicles.
|Acacia Ridge||28 Elizabeth Street – Vinnies||Drop off – Return-It|
|Albany Creek||Albany Creek Road and Wruck Crescent||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling|
|Arana Hills||5/131 Bunya Road||Depot – U Can Recycle|
|Archerfield||17 Boniface Street – Salvos||Drop off – Return-It|
|Aspley||Aspley Hypermarket||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling|
|Brendale||256 Leitchs Road – Salvos||Drop off – Return-It|
|Capalaba||16/82 Redland Bay Road||Depot – Advanced Metal Recyclers|
|Capalaba||6 Merrit Street (Lifeline)||Drop off – Return-It|
|Capalaba||7/71 Redland Bay Road – Salvos||Drop off – Return-It|
|Cleveland||25-32 Shore Street – Salvos||Drop off – Return-It|
|Darra||18 Sumners Road||Depot – The Big Red Shed|
|Geebung||428 Bilsen Road||Depot – TOMRA|
|Geebung||8 Railway Parade – Salvos||Drop off – Return-It|
|Jindalee||24 Goggs Road||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling|
|Lutwyche||554 Lutwyche Road||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling|
|MacGregor||555 Kessels Road||Drop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling|
|Murarrie||913 Lytton Road||Depot – United Scrap Metal|
|Newstead||52 Doggett Street -Salvos||Drop off – Return-It|
|Oxley||63 Factory Road – Vinnies||Drop off- Return-It|
|Red Hill||80 Gelnrosa Road – Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Redcliffe||Peninsula Surf Life Saving Club Lot 1 Marine Parade||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Redcliffe||Ashmole Road & Klingner Road||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|Salisbury||655 Toohey Road||Depot – TOMRA Collection|
|Sandgate||77 Rainbow Street – Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Seventeen||Mile Rocks 9 Counihan Road||Depot – TOMRA Collection|
|Sherwood||450 Sherwood Road – Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Sinnamon Park||532 Seventeen Mile Rocks||Road – Salvos Drop off- Return-It|
|St Lucia||342 Carmody Road||Depot – Post Office|
|Tingalpa||302-308 New Cleveland Road||Depot – TOMRA Collection|
|Tingalpa||1469 Wynnum Road||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
|West End||281 Montague Road||Depot – TOMRA Collection|
|Wynnum||119 Bay Terrace – Salvos||Drop off- Return-It|
|Wynnum West||Wynnum Plaza Shopping Centre 2021 Wynnum Rd||Drop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling|
108 of the locations are operated by Return-It who perform manual sorting and counting when you drop in your containers. Their locations include depots and drops-off points in charity stores, most of which are open limited hours on weekends. To use the drop-off points you have to place your containers inside a bag and place a label on the bag with your Scheme Account ID or Donation Point ID and the refund will be transferred to your bank account in two to three weeks after they are counted manually.
The bag must not be a single use plastic bag but the requirement varies depending on who runs the location. Some say they must be a re-usable clear bag like a rubbish bag, others require you to use their bags with a drawstring but they ask you to use a ringpull from a can to close the drawstring and others ask you to use the re-usable bags from the supermarkets. The sites that require a specific bag to be used will often require you to transfer them into the bag on-site from whatever you used to carry them there. The bags are not returned to you.
Your average reusable supermarket bag is $1 and can hold around 15 bottles which you will receive back $1.50 for. After the cost of the bag this is 50c returned and doesn’t include the costs of the next issue.
There are additional requirements at Container Refund Points.
Envirobank required you to put in exactly 50 containers into their bags or they would invalidate your refund. If you returned 501 containers to Envirobank they required you to make and supply a Statutory Declaration for $50.10 worth of containers.
Lids have to be removed because of the risk to the staff at the Container Refund Points of them flying off and they can’t or won’t recycle the lids.
Special Bags are required by Envirobank but they have run out of them and only allow you to have three bags at a time so the most you can return is 150 containers for a refund of $15. If you don’t use their bags you don’t get a refund.
Another issue is making special trips to return containers. Most Queensland households currently have a recycle bin that is collected every fortnight but are now expected to put the suitable containers aside until they have enough to justify driving to a Container Refund Point. Assuming an average round trip of 10km this is a cost of $6.60 using the ATO per kilometer rate of 66c and doesn’t include the time lost on something that is pointless. The average CO2 emissions for a light vehicle in Australia is 188 grams per kilometre so that is 1.88kg of emissions per trip.
The average aluminium 375ml can weighs 14.9 grams (Australian Aluminium Council) and the amount of CO2 released from creating 1 tonne of aluminium is 1.5 tonnes (Greener Industry). Each can has released 22.35 grams of CO2. If you return less than 84 cans on an average 10km trip you have released more CO2 than the creation of those cans.
To break even from a cost perspective you need to return an average of 66 containers.
Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme Environmental Cost goes into more detail on this.
Most aluminium, steel, glass, plastic and some cardboard containers that range in size up to 3 litres can be returned for a refund.
However the following are not
- plain milk containers
- glass containers which have contained wine or pure spirits
- large containers (1L or more) which have contained flavoured milk, pure juice, cask wine or cask water
- cordial or vegetable juice containers
- sachets above 250ml which have contained wine
- registered health tonics.
Reverse Vending Machines
The Queensland Government has decided to give the Reverse Vending Machines a new name “Smart Pods”. This should be retired like our “Smart State” label and we should use the name that the rest of the world uses.
These machines must be expensive or the government would surely have rolled them out like in Germany? You would think that these machines are made of Gold the way in which they are so sparingly dispersed around the state. A standalone non compacting Reverse Vending Machine that takes up the space of an ATM costs around AUD $12,000. Compacting models that crush the cans and plastics enabling them to hold a lot more are also available.
The cost of these machines would likely be cost neutral even in large quantities as the new Container Recycling Scheme is incredibly inefficient.
More detail on false claims and statistics can be found in this document.
In the first 8 months of operation the recycling rate was around 28% and this currently sits in the low to mid 30’s which is diferent to the figures from the Government and Container Exchange who run Containers for Change.
The number of customers registered was 188,966 at the end of June 2019.
On the 1st of November 2019 more than a billion containers had been collected after 12 months.
At the start of April 2020 the figure was 1.6 billion containers after 18 months of operation.
Steven Miles the Minister responsible at the time included a claim in a media statement on the 22nd of July 2016 that $25 million could be made by community organisations each year. In the 8 months from November 2018 to June 2019 a total of $863,897 was paid to Charities and Community Groups [page 8 – Financial Report].
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.Minister Leeanne Enoch | 1st of November 2019 | One billion containers returned in first year of scheme
The Minister fails to mention that Councils also get some of that $100 million from any containers placed in recycling bins, why is this? To make the scheme look like it only benefits certains groups whilst omitting the ones that receive large amounts?
The NSW government’s scheme, launched on December 1, 2017, has been heavily criticised for pushing up the price of drinks without any environmental benefit, given 80 per cent of bottles and cans were already being recycled via yellow bins.
In April, The Australian reported the five biggest drinks manufacturers — Coca-Cola Amatil, Carlton United Brewers, Lion, Coopers and Asahi — were pocketing $34 million a month in unclaimed “deposits”.
The paper reported that just 13 per cent of eligible bottles and cans were being returned and Exchange for Change, the company formed by the five drinks makers to manage the scheme, simply hands the unclaimed money back to them.
There has been ongoing criticism of delays ahead of the rollout with some residents having to travel up to three hours to collect their 10 cents and others travelling across the border to save money.
WOOLWORTHS has warned it could be forced to increase some drink prices by 60 per cent in Western Australia if the State Government pushes ahead with a container deposit scheme similar to the NSW government’s disastrous “Return and Earn” program.
“The CDS will have a significant cost-of-living impact on our customers,” Woolworths government relations manager Richard Fifer wrote. “Based on an increase of 15 cents per item, a 24x600ml pack of Woolworths still water will rise from $6 to $9.60, which is an increase of 60 per cent.”
Ideally you would look to see how other countries have approached recycling and learn from their experience.
In the Implementing Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme – Discussion Paper there are three countries used as Case Studies; Canada, Norway and California. For some reason they choose not to look at Germany who has probably the simplest system from a consumers perspective.
Germany – Pfandsystem
The Pfandsystem in Germany is not perfect but it’s many many times better then the dogs breakfast that we have implemented in Queensland. The current system was implemented in 2003 and expanded in 2006 however Germany has for a long history of deposits on bottles.
The intention of the Pfand system was to encourage the uptake of Mehrwegflaschen (multi-use refillable plastic and glass bottles) however this has not eventuated with some of the major companies like Coca-Cola switching to Einwegflaschen (single use bottles and cans) due to the logistics of reusing bottles. Multi-use plastic bottles can be reused around 25 times and glass bottles around 50 times.
All stores and supermarkets above a certain size that sell bottled products must have a Pfandrückgabestelle (area to return bottles) generally in the form of a Pfandautomat (Deposit Machine or more commonly known as Reverse Vending Machine). The system is straight forward if you are using single use plastic bottles or cans as generally all machines will accept these bottles or cans with the exception of ones purchased outside Germany or imported products like Fanta Pineapple which is direct imported from the USA.
Where it gets complicated is returning multi-use refillable bottles to different stores or in different regions as some stores may not accept bottles that are irregular shaped or foreign (not sold at that location). Some locations (generally discount stores) will only accept single use bottles and cans as this is all they sell and they have a Reverse Vending Machine that crushes to save space. Stores of under 200m² can restrict the returns to products that they sell.
The Getränkemarkt (equivalent to a bottle shop in Australia) will generally take a much wider range of bottles back and they often have an additional tray in the Reverse Vending Machine for you to put the Crate with empty bottles in so they can be all processed at once.
Generally juice, milk, wine and spirits are not covered by the Pfandsystem as well as the packaging of food products.
The Deutsche Pfandgesellschaft (deposit clearing house) co-ordinates the distribution of the Pfand (deposit).
(all in Euro)
- Glass bottles 330 and 500ml – 8c
- Glass bottles 750 and 1000ml – 15c
- Plastic 15c
- Crates (returned full of empty bottles) – €3.10 + the deposit paid on the bottles
- Plastic bottles – 25c
- Aluminium cans – 25c
Some further reading on the Pfand system in Germany.
How the system could have worked
The current Container Recycling Scheme is a total shambles, it’s expensive to operate, it requires consumers to make special trips to return containers, it employs thousands of people to manually sort containers and it just makes NO SENSE. Why not allow customers to return their bottles and cans at the point of sale so they don’t need to make a special trip to a recycling centre and all the complexity that is involved in getting a refund.
For the initial roll-out the government should have mandated supermarkets deploy one of these machines per suburb per chain with a long term goal to have these in all supermarkets over a certain size, the costs for deployment are minimal and could be shared by the supermarkets and the producers as they both should take responsibility. The refund can be made via a paper voucher that you present at the checkout, no need to have dozens of complex payment variations that vary from suburb to suburb.
Unfortunately once again the governments in Australia at all levels have totally and utterly failed what could have been a simple roll-out and have placed the burden on taxpayers along with the increased costs and complexity of running the Container Recycling Scheme.
The Queensland Government loaned the Container Recycling Scheme $35 million dollars to start up, if this was spent instead on Reverse Vending Machines it could have purchased over 2900 @ $12,000 each which is three times the number of machines required! In Queensland there are around 600-1000* larger supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths, ALDI, IGA and other independents) so the costs of deploying and all the infrastructure required could have been covered by the cost of starting up the sham system we have now or we could have spent no money and left this to the supermarkets and the producers to fund.
Does it make financial or environmental sense to return bottles and cans via a special trip especially when it would be cheaper to have Reverse Vending Machines at the point of sale?
Thousands of people are employed to sort out bottles and cans mostly manually and process refunds, is this gainful employment or just the creation of jobs to support a poorly thought out and inefficient scheme.
This is a backwards step, most Queensland households have recycling bins that are collected every fortnight but are now forced to make a special trip to perform the exact same task. Someone who always recycles and consumes a small number of products that are covered by the Container Recycling Scheme would find it very hard to justify a journey given the number of containers needed to be collected to offset the running costs and the CO2 emissions. Their options are to collect a large number of containers over a long period and be faced with having to rinse these to stop ants etc from being attracted to them or to effectively throw them away and let someone else take the deposit.
The most effective method for the environment is to place the containers in your recycling bin but this way the council contractors receive the deposit and you lose out as you’re paying for the deposit and the running costs of an incredibly inefficient scheme.
In most circumstances I suspect this will be nothing but a NEW TAX on the people that do the right thing by recycling and never littering.
*Based on a rough estimate based on Coles having 807 in Australia, Woolworths having 995 and ALDI over 500
Recycling in Australia
Australia has an already low rate of recycling which has been impacted by the Chinese decision to stop accepting our recycling as there are limited facilities in Australia to process the recycling so it’s being sent to landfill instead. Large councils like the Ipswich City Council are sending all recycling to landfill as they claim it’s too expensive to recycle. This is further compounded with Australia having some of the highest power prices in the world and a total lack of investment in recycling facilities.