New road rules in Australia that will do nothing but kill people, logic once again out the window!

At first glance the road rules introduced by South Australia and now NSW and Victoria are there to save lives but the reality is all they do is kill people. No-one is suggesting that emergency workers do not deserve protection on the road but the rules introduced to save them have done anything but and have costs lives, people licenses and created confusion where you have different laws in different states that have not been communicated properly to the drivers especially those from interstate.

This points again to the problems with Australia where each state whilst following the Australian Road Rules also introduce their own laws without any regard to other states nor looking at the experiences in other countries.

These are the road rules in question for each of the states that have introduced them and following them is the simple rule that all drivers across Australia should be using.

South Australia

Drivers are now required to travel at 25km/h when driving through an emergency service speed zone. This law came into effect on 1 September 2014.

The 25km/h Emergency Service Speed Zone applies on an area of road:

  • In the immediate vicinity of an emergency service vehicle that has stopped on the road and is displaying a flashing blue or red light; or
  • Between two sets of flashing blue or red lights that have been placed by an emergency worker at either end of a length of road on which an emergency vehicle has stopped.
  • It does not apply if you are driving on a road that is divided by a median strip and the emergency service speed zone is on the other side of the road beyond the median strip.

An emergency services vehicle includes:

  • Ambulance
  • Fire service vehicle (CFS, MFS or Federal Aviation Rescue)
  • State Emergency Services (SES) vehicle
  • Police.

Penalties are the same as speeding, if in a 80, 100 or 110kph zone and you can’t or don’t slow down you face immediate loss of license no matter what state you come from.


From 1 July 2017 you must slow down to a speed that would enable you to stop safely when approaching and passing enforcement, emergency or escort vehicles that are stationary or moving slowly (less than 10km/h)*, and have either:

  • Red and blue flashing lights
  • Magenta (purple flashing lights)
  • An alarm sounding.

You must not exceed 40km/h when passing the vehicle and not increase your speed until a safe distance from the scene (more on this below).

The new road rule does not apply to vehicles on the opposite side of a divided road (separated by a median strip) from an emergency or enforcement vehicle scene.

  • A fire truck extinguishing roadside spot fires is an example of a slow moving emergency vehicle.

A ‘safe distance’ has not been defined in the road rule because every incident will be different.

The infringement penalty for breaching the new road rule is 1.75 penalty units ($272.05), with the maximum court penalty of 5 penalty units ($777.30). No demerit points apply.


The new rule from the 1st of September 2018 requires motorists to slow down to 40km/h when passing a stationary emergency vehicle displaying blue or red flashing lights.

The rule also requires motorists to give way to any person on foot in the immediate area of the emergency vehicle. Motorists should not increase their speed until they are a safe distance past the vehicle.

For everyone’s safety, motorists must slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles displaying blue or red flashing lights
The rule applies to vehicles travelling in both directions, unless the road is divided by a median strip

Motorists who do not comply with the rule will face a $448 fine and three demerit points with the maximum court penalty of $2,200.

Western Australia

SLOMO (Slow Down, Move Over) law was introduced on the 2nd of March 2018.

The SLOMO law requires drivers to slow down to 40 km/h when approaching specific stationary emergency vehicles which are displaying flashing lights while attending an incident.

SLOMO applies to all emergency service vehicles and first response personnel who need to attend to roadside incidents very quickly. Their priority is the safety and survival of the person requiring assistance.

As well as emergency vehicles, SLOMO includes tow trucks, RAC roadside assistance patrol vehicles, and Main Roads Incident Response Vehicles, which assist with the removal of broken down vehicles and debris.

Vehicles travelling in oncoming traffic from the other direction will not be required to slow down.

However, if there is an incident that has occurred in the middle of the road or on a median strip for instance, traffic in both directions would be required to slow down if lanes in both directions are affected by an incident.

The penalty for this offence is three demerit points and $300.


Four states with four different laws that apply to different vehicles.

  • South Australia fines you for exceeding the 25kph speed limit and loss of license is easy, another state has a fine but no demerit points and two other states have different demerit points and fines.
  • Victoria requires you to slow for slow moving or stationary vehicles and the other three only for stationary.
  • West Australia requires you to move over where possible, the other three do not.
  • West Australia also doesn’t apply to traffic coming in the other direction without a median strip whereas the others do.
  • Each state applies the laws to different emergency vehicles and one includes roadside service.
  • Every state has different interpretations of how soon you can speed up again.

Problems with implementation

Victoria didn’t enter the correct offence code so all fines had to be withdrawn as three points were assigned to those fines when no points should apply. However police started issued summons to appear in court until the issue was resolved. [source]

It took just one day after Victoria’s new 40km/h speed limit when passing emergency vehicles was introduced before a big truck slammed into the rear of a small sedan writing it off. [source]

A NSW driver who was unaware of the 25km/h rule in South Australia was fined $1007, disqualified from driving for 6 months after driving past two police cars with their red and blue lights on in early 2018 before laws were introduced in NSW. The police were located 12m off the road and she passed them at a speed of 85km/h hour in a 110km/h zone. The driver was a female on her own travelling from Northern NSW to visit friends in Adelaide, she had driven for 49 years with no infringements and had to find a place to store her caravan and organise a lift to get back home. [source]

South Australian Police and RAA suggested an increase in speed to 40km/h”But SAPOL and the RAA said it had led to a potentially dangerous situation on stretches of high-speed road — the South-Eastern Freeway in particular.” The government however refuse to increase the speed. [source]

More ambiguity around the new laws with NSW Roads Minister, Melinda Pavey claiming that it’s up motorists how fast they slow down and to what speed. “In response to these concerns, NSW Roads Minister, Melinda Pavey, said it is up to motorists to assess whether it is safe to slow all the way down to 40km/h.

“To slam your breaks on to get down to 40 is dangerous and no one expects people to be driving in an unsafe manner,” she told ABC radio.

“We must be aware of what is behind us, appreciating and respecting that it takes a truck a lot longer to slow down.”” [source]

Cop injured under emergency speed rule [source]

What should we do?

Implement an Australian wide law similar to the United States move over laws which refer to requiring drivers to give a one lane buffer to stopped emergency vehicles. For example, while driving in the right lane, if the driver sees a stopped police car, the driver is required to move one lane over to the left to give enough buffer space to avoid any potential accidents.

Communicate changes to laws such as this by including an insert with vehicle registration papers as not everyone watches TV or reads News Papers to see advertising that is costly and ineffective. Distribute for free printed road rule refreshers at newsagencies, service stations and car servicing locations. Given that most people have to fill their car advertise road rule changes on the pumps or other parts of the service station.

The idea that it’s safe to have to brake heavily from 110km/h to 40km/h or 25km/h shows just how out of touch our lawmakers are.

Another system to use in conjunction with the United States move over laws is to look at how they deal with this in Germany with their unrestricted autobahns, police use a digital sign in the rear window to indicate to the driver to follow and they pull over in a safe location away from the road. Another easy solution to this problem that the Australian Governments will never consider just like the United States one above.

Simply put, Australian Governments will never introduce clear uniform laws across all the states.

Just when you thought that Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme was already complicated along come additional inane requirements!

The companies and organisations involved in the Container Refund Scheme (CRS) have their own rules on how containers are to be returned and with very few sites having Reverse Vending Machines they require you to register your details including bank account, bag up the containers, return them to a Container Refund Point and wait up to six weeks for a refund after they are manually counted.

If the manual count gives a substantially lower number like it has for many people there is no avenue to dispute this.

Each of these Container Refund Points have their own rules on the types of bags, some will provide you bags but often run out and if this is the case you have to travel to another CRP until you find one with bags that you can use. Most of the Container Refund Points will not let you use single use bags, instead you have to buy from the supermarket stronger multiple use bags and nearly all of them will not accept black bags for the safety of the sorting staff so this requires the purchase of more expensive clear bags.

Now one of the companies that requires you to use their own orange coloured bags Envirobank require you to put in exactly 50 containers, no more and no less or they will declare the bag as ineligible (see below for details). But it continues to get better, you cannot drop off 11 bags or more, if you have 501 containers or more you have to go to a depot and make a Statutory Deceleration which will require you to find a Justice of the Peace to witness the signature. All this for $50.10 or more! You couldn’t make this up!

June 2019 | See below for an update in March 2019 to Envirobanks inane requirements.

Checking their website there is no mention of the 50 container requirement on their How It Works page which shows a very simple process. Further to this they operate an ineligible bag policy that allows them to keep the containers and void your payment so if you put in 49 or 51 containers it’s goodbye refund!

I checked the Queensland Legislation on this and can find no reference to 500 containers however found that NSW requires a statutory declaration to be made that you purchased the containers in NSW so it’s unknown if they impose this requirement in Queensland or not.

Queensland Legislation does contain this however but it is not clear where and when this applies.

Division 3 Refund amounts for empty containers 20 Bulk quantity—Act, s99T New section 20 defines bulk quantity, for the purposes of providing a refund declaration to a container refund point operator, as at least 1,500 empty containers.

Container Refund Scheme Regulation 2018

Looking at their terms of service shows even more strange requirements including their right to keep your containers without paying you compensation if you include any ineligible containers or waste.

This is also confirmed on a popular forum.

One of the recycling scheme vendors in Queensland (Envirobank) just announced that they will only accept bags that have exactly 50 containers in it. If you have less, you forfeit the entire bag. I exclusively use 1.25L bottles and therefore it is impossible to get 50 into a bag. This is getting beyond ridiculous. I clearly won’t use them anymore but my incentive to use this scheme in general is further diminished.

Whirlpool Post

The even have instructions on how to use the bags, instead of creating a bag that is easy to use they have instead forced the onus onto those returning containers to figure out a solution.

Q. How do I close my orange bags properly?

A. It may seem like a silly question, but it’s more complicated than you think.

You know that the product your delivering is overly complex when you need such lengthy instructions on closing a bag and which make you have such lengthy terms and conditions and terms of service.

All this for a Container Refund Scheme that is truly a fantastic example of Idiocracy. The CRS could have required Reverse Vending Machines to be installed at Supermarkets so you can return your containers from the place you purchased them from when you go shopping. But why go simple, logical and cheap when you can do the opposite?

Update | Envirobank have changed their terms of service March 2019

Whilst they have updated a few areas even a more recent FAQ entry from April 2019 says that you should stick to 50 containers per bag.

April 2019 | Envirobank FAQ

You can mix your eligible containers in each bag, regardless of material type, but we do ask that you please stick to 50 containers per bag.

Updated Terms of Service | Envirobank

In order to use the Drop’n’Go Service, you must:(5.1.a) Before you drop-off Your Eligible Beverage Containers at a Drop’n’Go Location, ensure that You place a Maximum of 50 Eligible Beverage Containers inside an Envirobank orange collection bag with a QR code attached to the bag (Eligible Bag). At most Drop’n’Go Locations, the orange collection bag will have a QR code affixed to the bag. If You are dropping-off at a Drop’n’Go Location in NSW, You must affix a swing tag with a QR code to the drawstring of the orange collection bag.
(5.1.b) Either:
Scan the QR code on each Eligible Bag using the QR code scanner function of the Website (Your mobile device may request temporary permission for the Website to access the camera on Your mobile device in order to scan the QR code); or
Type the QR code in manually for each Eligible Bag,
while logged into Your Account on the Website. It is Your responsibility to ensure that each QR code has been accurately entered into Your Account on the Website before dropping off your Eligible Bag(s) at the Drop’n’Go Location.
(c) Only drop-off a maximum of 10 Eligible Bags in a single Drop’n’Go deposit. Deposits greater than 500 containers should be made at a depot and a Statutory Declaration completed, as a requirement of the Scheme.

Terms of Service | Envirobank

And they now have a FAQ that says you will be paid for every item contrary to the experience of others before they updated their terms of service.

What if my bag doesn’t contain 50 eligible containers?

Regardless of the number of containers in your bag, you’ll still be paid for every eligible container you deposit. (In accordance with the Act)

However it may take a little while longer for your containers to be processed and for you to receive your payment, compared to our ultra-popular 50 container express service.

Why is it better to pack your bags with 50 eligible containers? Find out here

(*Spoiler: it’s faster, hassle-free, and we give you imaginary gold stars every time you do it!)

Envirobank FAQ

Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme now requires lids to be removed for safety!

The stupidity of the Queensland Government Container Refund Scheme really knows no bounds, not content with the inefficiency of this complicated, expensive and cumbersome system when much simpler and cheaper options exist they have now require lids to be removed!

Two reasons are given, one is safety as the lids can apparently fly off at high speed and the other is that the plastic of the lid is different and they don’t recycle it. But why is this the problem of the person returning these bottles who are now faced with another decision. Transport bottles in their vehicle that may leak or spend time removing lids at the Container Refund Points and throw them into the landfill bin?

28th of November 2018 | Containers for Change Queensland

All other countries that offer refunds on containers accept them back with with the lids, the Reverse Vending Machines used throughout parts of Europe and other parts of the world have no problems with lids being fitted and many of these actually crush the bottle to reduce the storage space required in the store. Googling for injuries from “bottle tops” has found nothing so why are Queensland and some other parts of Australia so special that these pose a real and imminent danger? Over the top workplace heath and safety laws? Stupidity? Who really knows.

In fact removing the lid is not required and actually causes the lids to be sent to landfill when they can be recycled and the lids are in the top 5 of rubbish collected from beaches. The arguments that the various state governments, associations, groups and companies use in Australia as to why they can’t be recycled are nothing but misleading at best and shows a complete lack of understanding of the recycling industry.

Contains for Change Queensland even try and portray their practice of taking bottles without lids as good for the environment when as shown above lids are in the top 5 discarded items found in the sea.

8th of June 2019 | Containers for Change Queensland

The Containers for Change website has another message and not one of safety but rather that leaving lids on causes problems with transport and storage and that separating means a better recycling outcome!?!? Why are they unable to communicate the same message on Instagram as their website?

Containers for Change Frequently Asked Questions

A press release by Containers for Change has another message!

Containers for Change says reports of people failing to get a refund for leaving lids on containers or bottles is simply untrue.
The company has released a statement today to clarify any confusion about the bottle or can drop off program.
They do say lids need to be removed before processing for safety reasons and operators can ask customers to do this but under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act they still must pay a refund for eligible containers whether the lid is on or off.
To find out more information on the recycling scheme visit the Containers for Change webpage at

17th of June 2019 | Containers for Change clarifies lid refund claims

This issue is further made more complicated with roadside recycling where nearly all councils want lids removed and only a few specify to leave it on. And combined with the sad state of roadside recycling in Australia means that most of the contents end up in landfill or another country.

There are many guides out there that are misleading and most give differing information. For example FYA claim that you should wash everything before it goes into the recycle bin and that you have to remove all lids and further they claim that removing them makes them easier to recycle!

The only solution to this issue is to have one government organisation responsible for all recycling in Australia so that a single consistent voice is heard and this organisation is further fully responsible for what happens downstream. At the moment we have the tail wagging the dog.

The Ring around the bottle

The Ring that is left on the bottle with the lid is removed is commonly in the industry called a tamper evident band or skirt, if the lid causes sorting issues why do all the states that require the lid to be removed allow you to leave this in place?

Some recycling companies and organisations even state that the ring and the lid are made from different plastics and this is why the ring is able to be left on the bottle.

Do I need to remove the plastic ring on the neck of the bottle as well?
No you don’t. The rings have no adverse effect on the recycling of the container and are actually made from the same type of plastic as the bottle itself, so therefore do not need to be removed.

RecyclersSA FAQ and Adelaide Hills Recycling Centre FAQ

The State of the States

Queensland | Lids to be removed but Ring OK
NSW | Lids and Ring OK
South Australia | Lids to be removed but Ring OK
Northern Territory |
Western Australia | Likely the same as Queensland


Do I need to remove lids from containers before taking them to a container refund point?
Yes, lids should be removed from beverage containers before taking them to a container refund point. Removing the lids helps with the crushing of containers at processing facilities and provides benefits, ie.:

  • plastic tops are usually a different plastic from the bottle, so separating the plastics means a better recycling outcome due to less ‘contamination’
  • leaving tops on containers can cause problems with transport and storage.

Containers for Change Frequently Asked Questions

New South Wales

Do I need to remove the lid from my container?
No. Bottles with lids can go through RVMs without difficulty. The lids are a valuable resource and will be recycled too. We don’t want lids ending up as litter.

NSW Government FAQ FAQ FAQ

South Australia

Do I need to remove the lids from containers before taking them to the collection depot?

There is no legal requirement to remove the tops/lids from beverage containers before taking them to a collection depot, but it helps If you do because:

  • plastic tops are usually a different plastic than the bottle, separating the plastics is better for recycling
  • leaving tops on containers can cause problems with transport and storage.
  • you can put your tops with similar plastics in a separate container and ask your depot if they will accept these when you return your containers for refund.
  • removing the tops/lids from containers may save time at the depot.

Environmental Protection Agency FAQ

Northern Territory

Western Australia

Being run by the same organisation as Queensland so likely the same.

Queensland Feedback

From the Containers for Change Instagram post on this subject.

The lids off policy is not working. It is ‘encouraging’ littering near the refund collection points. This morning I picked up 242 plastic lids that were thrown in the surrounding roadside vegetation. This scheme was set up to address littering – it is obviously lids MUST be included in the scheme to decrease this littering. The full container must be recovered not just the ‘valuable/easy to recycle PET.

plasticfreeseas – Take off your container caps – Instagram

Hi @plasticfreeseas – we appreciate your help with this. Hi Tracey, lids and bottles are different types of plastic so need to be recycled separately. Lids can also cause safety issues, shooting off bottles at high speeds if they’re crushed. So if you’re returning your containers to a container refund point or recycling them through your Council bin, the lids need to be taken off. Our CRPs have bins at their sites if people forget to do this before arriving.

4changeqld – Take off your container caps – Instagram

@4changeqld Yes I know the plastics are different types. That is not an excuse not to recycle the whole container just the PET. I’m all for separating the lids for safety reasons but there is a responsibility for the scheme to deal with this part of the container not landfill them (or have them end up as small bits of litter). This is a flaw in the scheme fundamentals and should be addressed alongside the PET container. Offsetting this externality of business is unacceptable practice.

plasticfreeseas – Take off your container caps – Instagram

As usual all the hard questions that make sense are ignored such as the following.

So now everyone is asked to drive all the way to a depot to deliver bottles. What will that cost the environment? Kerbside recycling seems far more environmental on that measure.

peterstelmach – Take off your container caps – Instagram

And the following which is only responded to with a contact us message. These issues are quite common and they have made it clear on their website that they will not look into any discrepancies.

I have been saving my eligible bottles for 2 months now. I dropped them off in 6 filled garbage bags and just got my notice that I was paid $2.50. Please explain. I feel that I have been scammed and to think that my whole family have been on a recycling mission to do our best for the environment. We were going to invest the money into a recycling system to help us continue this program at our business. $2.50 might get us some plastic garbage bags to put future bottles in. However, we thought the aim was to REDUCE the use of plastics. Not create more once use wastage.

no_sixty8 – Take off your container caps – Instagram

Why does the Brisbane City Council say low-emission Euro6 technology instead of saying DIESEL?

Because they think all the ratepayers are stupid and will think that “low-emission Euro6 technology” is some fancy electric bus instead of the reality which is a DIESEL powered bus.

It’s the same with their claim that Brisbane is a New World City which is utter bollocks and what does it even really mean?

Council remains committed to delivering Australia’s most modern public and active transport. We have launched 10 new articulated buses which run on low-emission Euro6 technology and installed Speed Awareness Monitors across 100 locations, contributing to Brisbane’s reputation as a New World City.

Graham Quirk, Lord Mayor February 2018 Living in Brisbane

We are committed to delivering Australia’s most modern public and active transport. World-class public transport means fewer cars on the road and quicker, more comfortable trips for residents.

February 2018 Living in Brisbane

World class public transport in Brisbane? I can only assume that he really believes that and has never been to any European countries and used their public transport system because he should be embarrassed at the the state of public transport in Australia and the amount of money that we waste for example on trying to make articulated buses look like light rail trains.

The Brisbane Metro is a road for a DIESEL powered articulated BUS for a BILLION dollars!

The Brisbane City Council want you to believe that the Brisbane Metro is a high tech electric light rail system with matching sleek light rail vehicle but the truth is so far from reality.

They will use words like “Metro Lines” for what are actually roads and “High Capacity Vehicles” for articulated buses.

A bus is a bus no matter how much you spend on it to try and disguise it.

Recognising the need to act, Brisbane City
Council announced Brisbane Metro in early 2016
as a way of addressing Brisbane’s inner-city bus
network congestion issues

Brisbane Metro Business Case Key Findings May 2017

So the solution from the Brisbane City Council to a bus congestion issue is to buy more buses!

In the Brisbane Metro Vehicle Design and Delivery Registration of Interest the level of deception to Brisbane ratepayers is shown with the following under 1.8 Metro Vehicle Design Specifications.

Body design: a modern and distinctive style that
differentiates the vehicles from other public transport
services and reflects similar high-capacity metro
services around the world

Brisbane Metro Vehicle Design and Delivery Registration of Interest

So what does Metro mean? Ask just about anyone but you will find that they take it to mean an electric light rail system. But what about a dictionary?

Even the diagrams make them look like light rail.

So why can’t the Brisbane City Council just say it’s a road with buses on it? Why do they feel the need to mislead the public and lie about what the bus really is? After all they keep telling us we are a New World City whatever that means!

Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme is utter rubbish!

Queensland Container Refund Sham Scheme

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.

Implementing Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme – Discussion Paper

Implementing the Container Refund Scheme in Queensland – Results of consultation

Waste Reduction and Recycling (Container Refund Scheme) Regulation 2018

COEX Board Acting Chair Alby Taylor said

“Our aim is to build a sustainable, world-class container refund scheme.”

Queensland Government Media Statement Sunday October 21, 2018

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.

world-class [wurld-klas, -klahs]
ranking among the world’s best; outstanding:  []
being of the highest caliber in the world: [Merriam-Webster]

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)
Aluminium 9.9
Glass 10.5
HDPE 10.6
PET 10.3
LPB 10.6
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.


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.

  • Bank Account

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.

  • Cash

Some Container Refund Points will offer cash refunds.

  • Donation

Most Container Refund Points will offer donations as an option.

  • PayPal

At TOMRA sites you can link their app with your PayPal account and receive your refund from Reverse Vending Machines this way.

  • Voucher

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 Point)

The government claims that over 230 CRPs are available from day one however the list shows that of 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 Ridge28 Elizabeth Street - VinniesDrop off - Return-It
Agnes Waters91 Rocky CrossingMobile - CQ Recycling
Albany CreekAlbany Creek Road and Wruck CrescentDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Alexandra Headland167 Alexandra ParadeDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
AllenstownTBADrop off
AnnandaleAnnandale CentralDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
AnnerleyTBADrop off - Return-It
Arana Hills5/131 Bunya RoadDepot - U Can Recycle
Archerfield17 Boniface Street - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Arundel11 Byth Street - AEIOUDrop off - Return-It
Ashmore1/16 Hinde StreetDepot - Envirobank Recycling
AspleyAspley HypermarketDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
AthertonRailway Line - VinniesDrop off - Return-It
Banyo915 Nudgee RoadDepot - Envirobank Recycling
BargaraTBADrop off - Return-It
Beenleigh61 Alamein Street - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
BenowaBenowa VillageDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Bigerra WatersTreasure Cove Shopping Centre - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Biggenden27 Edward StretMobile - U Can Recycle
BilingaBilinga Surf Life Saving ClubDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Biloela156 Calvale RoadDepot - Biloela Recycling
BlackwaterCapricorn HighwayDepot - Kanga Bins
BoonahHigh Street - VinniesDepot - Return-It
BowenBowen Bowls ClubDrop off - Anything Environmental
Brendale256 Leitchs Road - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
BrightonTBADrop off - Return-It
BroadbeachKurrawa Surf Life Saving ClubDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Bromelton36 Waste Facility RoadDrop off - Beaudesert Transfer Station
Browns Plains58 Eastern Road - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Browns PlainsCnr Browns Plains Road and Mt Lindesay HighwayDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
BucasiaTBADrop off - Anything Environmental
Buderim10 Kayleigh DriveDepot - Envirobank Recycling
Bundaberg31-33 Victoria StreetDepot - ABC Recycling
Bundaberg78 University DriveDepot - Impact Community Services
Bundaberg70 Princess Street - LifelineDrop off - Return-It
Bundaberg North4/121 George StreetDepot - CQ Recycling
BundallTBADrop off - Return-It
Bungalow152 Newell StreetDepot - IMODE
Burkedin32876 Bruce HighwayDepot - AMDETT Services and Plastic Recycling
Burleigh Heads5-7 Kortum Drive - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Burleigh WatersTBADrop off - Return-It
Burleigh WatersTreetops PlazaDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Burnett Heads699 Bundaberg-Bargara RoadMobile - CQ Recycling
Burpengary290 Bruce Highway - Eastern Service Road - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
BurpengaryBurpengary Central Shopping CentreDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Caboolture16 Machinery ParadeDepot - Caboolture Scrap Metal
Caboolture686 The Abbey PlaceDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
CairnsFranzmann StreetDepot - Palm Tree Recyclers
CalliopeCalliope Bunting Park - Archer StreetMobile - CQ Recycling
Caloundra1 Spender LaneDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Cannon HillTBADrop off - Return-It
Cannonvale3102 Shute Harbour Road - VinniesDrop off - Return-It
Canungra2036 Beaudesert - Nerang RoadDrop Off - Canungra Transfer Station
Capalaba16/82 Redland Bay RoadDepot - Advanced Metal Recyclers
Capalaba6 Merrit Street (Lifeline)Drop off - Return-It
Capalaba7/71 Redland Bay Road - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Capella5 Hibernia RoadDepot - Kanga Bins
Charters Towers50 Aland StreetDepot - Cash 4 Containers
CherbourgStan Mickelo DriveDepot - Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council
Childers71 Churchill StreetMobile - U Can Recycle
Chinchilla19 Malduf StreetDepot - Western Downs Outreach Project
ClermontClermont Grand HotelDrop off - Anything Environmental
Cleveland25-32 Shore Street - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
CollinsvilleStanley StreetDrop off - Anything Environmental
Coochiemudlo IslandCoochiemudlo Surf Life Saving ClubDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
CooktownMacMillan StreetDepot - Auwaste
Coolangatta2 Snapper Rocks RoadDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Coolum Beach1775-1779 David Low WayDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Crestmead67-69 Rai DriveDepot - TOMRA
Currajong216-230 Woolcock Street - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Currumbin741 Pacific ParadeDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Dalby95 Cunningham Street - LifelieDrop off - Return-It
Darra18 Sumners RoadDepot - The Big Red Shed
DeeragunTBCMobile drop off
Dicky BeachDicky Beach Surf Life Saving ClubDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
DraytonAnzac Avenue and Boothby Street - LifelineDrop off - Return-It
Dugandan10 Evans RoadDrop off - Boonah Transfer Station
DystartJolly Collier HotelDrop off - Anything Environmental
Eagleby104 River Hills Road - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Earlville479 Mulgrave Road - VinniesDrop off - Return-It
Emerald10 Glasson StreetDepot - Return-It
Emu ParkEmu Park, Scenic HwyDepot - Kanga Bins
Esk2 Heap StreetMobile - Pipeliner Park
Fernvale1483 Brisbane Valley HighwayMobile - Fernvale Futures Centre
Forest LakeTBADrop off - The Big Red Shed
Garbutt37-41 Mackley StreetDepot - Return-It
Gatton64 Fords RoadDepot - Gatton Tip Shop
Gatton9 Byrne Street - VinniesDrop off - Return-It
GayndahBurnett HotelMobile - U Can Recycle
Geebung428 Bilsen RoadDepot - TOMRA
Geebung8 Railway Parade - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Gladstone66 Yarroon StreetDepot - CQ Recycling
Gladstone29 Chappell StreetDepot - Kanga Bins
GladstoneTBADrop off - Return-It
Goondiwindi81 Hungerford StreetDepot - E&E Waste
Gordonvale62 Norman Street - VinniesDrop off - Return-It
Gordonvale1 Brody StreetDepot - Cash 4 Containers
GracemereCorner of Allen Road and Lucas StreetDepot - Kanga Bins
GympieSmith StreetDepot - Return-It
Hervey Bay9 Industrial AvenueDrop off - Cleanaway
HillcrestTBADrop off - Return-It
Howard79 William StreetMobile - U Can Recycle
InalaTBADrop off - The Big Red Shed
Ingham21 Challands StreetDepot - MAMS
Inglewood750 Pump Station RoadDrop Off - E&E Waste
Innisfail5-7 Dickson RoadDepot - MAMS
Innisfail42 Ernest Street - VinniesDrop off - Return-It
JimboombaTBADepot - Return-It
Jindalee24 Goggs RoadDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Kallangur1473 Anzac Avenue - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Karalee259-277 Mt Crosby RoadDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Kedron46 Millway StreetDepot - Return-It
KenmoreTBADrop off - Return-It
KensingtonTBADrop off - Return-It
KeperraTBADrop off - Return-It
Kilcoy32-40 D'Aguilar HighwayMobile - Yowie Park
Kilkivan27 Bligh StreetDepot - Post Office
Kingaroy189 Kingaroy Street - LifelineDrop off - Return-It
Kunda Park5 Pike StreetDepot - TOMRA
Laidley63 Burgess RoadDrop off - Laidley Transfer Station
Lawnton690 Gympie Road - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Logan Central114 Wembley Road - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Logan CentralWoodridge PlazaDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Loganholme61-65 Bryants RoadDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Lutwyche554 Lutwyche RoadDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
MacGregor555 Kessels RoadDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
MackayTBADrop off - Anything Environmental
Mackay287 Shakespeare Street - LifelineDrop off - Return-It
Main BeachSouthport Surf Life Saving ClubDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Manunda16 Adelaide StreetDrop off - Return-It
Marcoola64-76 Marcoola EsplanadaDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Mareeba138 Walsh Street - VinniesDrop off - Return-It
Mareeba11 Bowers StreetDepot - Cash 4 Containers
Margate25 Beaconsfield Street - LifelineDrop off - Return-It
MarianTBADrop off - Anything Environmental
Maroochydore25 First AvenueDrop off - Return-It
Maryborough3 Kingston DriveDepot - U Can Recycle
Maryborough300 Kent StreetDrop off - U Can Recycle
Maryborough20 Gympie Road - LifelineDrop off - Return-It
MeadowbrookL13 Facilities Lane - AEIOUDrop off - Return-It
Mermaid BeachTBADrop off - Return-It
Mermaid Beach172 Hedges AvenueDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Mermaid BeachNobby's Beach Life Saving ClubDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
MiddlemountMiddlemount HotelDrop off - Anything Environmental
Molendinar3-9 Precision Drive - SalvosDepot - Return-It
MontoGrand HotelMobile - U Can Recycle
MooloolabaMooloolaba Surf Life Saving ClubDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
MoranbahBlack Nugget HotelDrop off - Anything Environmental
Morayfield158-166 Morayfield Road - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Mossman13/5 Pioneer CloseDepot - Port Douglas Recycling
Mount IsaJessop DriveMount Isa City Council
Mount Morgan78 James StreetDepot - K.L Webster
Mount PleasantGrand View DriveDrop off - Anything Environmental
Moura44-46 Dawson HighwayDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Mudgeeraba196-206 Highfield DriveDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
Murarrie913 Lytton RoadDepot - United Scrap Metal
Nambour9-13 Mill StreetDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine - Envirobank Recycling
NeboTBADrop off - Anything Environmental
Nerang23-25 Station Street - SalvosDrop off - Return-It
Newstead52 Doggett Street -SalvosDrop off - Return-It
NewtownTBADrop off- Return-It
Noosa HeadsNoosa Fair Shopping Centre, 10 Lanyana WayDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
NoosavilleTBADrop off- Return-It
North MackayJohn Breen Park, Malcolmson Street, Malcolmson StDrop off- Return-It
North MackayBassett St, Cnr Brewers Rd & Broad StDrop off- Return-It
Oakey77 Campbell StreetDepot - Post Office
OoraleaTBADrop off- Return-It
OrmistonTBADrop off- Return-It
OxenfordTBADrop off- Return-It
Oxley63 Factory Road - VinniesDrop off- Return-It
Paget19 Interlink CourtDepot - Return-It
Paget42 Crichtons Road - Incredables DepotDepot - Return-It
Palm Beach2 Eighth Avenue - SalvosDrop off- Return-It
Palm BeachTBADrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
Palm Island48 The EsplanadeDepot- Return-It
Parkhurst334 Leichhardt StreetDepot- Return-It
Peregian SpringsPeregian Springs Shopping Centre, 1 Ridgeview DriveDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
PialbaTBADrop off- Return-It
Pittsworth37 Grevillea Street, PO Box 432Depot- Pittsworth Metals
ProserpineProserpine Metropole Hotel, 80 Main StDrop off- Return-It
Raceview30 East Owen streetDrop off- Return-It
Red Hill80 Gelnrosa Road - SalvosDrop off- Return-It
Redbank PlainsRedbank Plains Rd & Argyle StDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
RedcliffePeninsula Surf Life Saving Club, Lot 1 Marine ParadeDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
RedcliffeAshmole Road & Klingner RoadDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
Rosewood25 John Street - VinniesDepot - Return-It
Rothwell739 Deception Bay Road - SalvosDrop Off - Return-It
Runaway BayRunaway Bay Shopping Village, Cnr Bayview St & Lae DrvDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
Rural ViewNorthern Beaches, Carl Court, 2 Rosewood DriveDrop Off - Return-It
Salisbury655 Toohey RoadDepot - TOMRA Collection
Samford ValleySamford Vally Commons, Mt Samson RoadDepot - Carticus Projects Pty Ltd
Sandgate77 Rainbow Street - SalvosDrop off- Return-It
SarinaSarina Leagues Club, Broad StDrop off- Return-It
SarinaTBADrop off- Return-It
SeaforthSeaforth Reserve RoadDrop off- Return-It
Seventeen Mile Rocks9 Counihan RoadDepot - TOMRA Collection
Sherwood450 Sherwood Road - SalvosDrop off- Return-It
Sinnamon Park532 Seventeen Mile Rocks Road - SalvosDrop off- Return-It
Slacks CreekTBADrop off- Return-It
South MackayMilton Street South MackayDrop off- Return-It
South Toowoomba689-691 Ruthven StreetDrop off- Return-It
Southport15 Nind Street - SalvosDrop off- Return-It
SpringfieldTBADrop off- Return-It
Springsure53 Gap StreetDepot- Kanga Bins
St Lucia342 Carmody RoadDepot - Post Office
Stanthorpe14 Maryland StDepot - Post Office
StratfordTBADrop off- Return-It
Sumner ParkTBADrop off- Return-It
SunnybankSunnybank Plaza Shopping Centre, 358 Mains RdDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
Surfers Paradise51 Garfield TerraceDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
Tamborine Mountain137 Knoll RdDrop off- Return-It
Taroom14 Yaldwyn StreetDepot - Kanga Bins
TexasTexas-Inglewood RoadDrop off- Return-It
Thuringowa CentralTBADrop off- Return-It
Tingalpa302-308 New Cleveland RoadDepot - TOMRA Collection
Tingalpa1469 Wynnum RoadDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
Toowoomba3/19 Carrington RoadDepot - E & E Waste
Toowoomba169 James StreetDepot - TOMRA Collection
Townsville275 Flinders Street - SalvosDrop off- Return-It
TownsvilleUnit 2/14 Keane StreetDepot - Reef Townsville Site
TugunTBADrop off- Return-It
TullyTully Showground - Butler StreetMobile - Tully Mobile
Tully26/58 Butler Street - VinniesDrop off- Return-It
Underwood3255 Logan Road - SalvosDrop off- Return-It
Varsity Lakes2 Flint CourtDepot - TOMRA Collection
Victoria PointTBADrop off- Return-It
WalkerstonTBADrop off- Return-It
Warwick30 King Street - lifelineDrop off- Return-It
West End281 Montague RoadDepot - TOMRA Collection
West EndTBADrop off- Return-It
West Ipswich355 Brisbane StreetDepot - TOMRA Collection
West IpswichTBADepot - Return-It
Woorabinda116 Munns StreetDepot - Kanga Bins
WoorimTBADrop off- Return-It
Woree14 Spoto Street - VinniesDepot - Return-It
Wynnum119 Bay Terrace - SalvosDrop off- Return-It
Wynnum WestWynnum Plaza Shopping Centre, 2021 Wynnum RdDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
YandinaTBADepot - Return-It
YarrabahThe EsplanadeDrop 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 Ridge28 Elizabeth Street – VinniesDrop off – Return-It
Albany CreekAlbany Creek Road and Wruck CrescentDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling
Arana Hills5/131 Bunya RoadDepot – U Can Recycle
Archerfield17 Boniface Street – SalvosDrop off – Return-It
AspleyAspley HypermarketDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling
Brendale256 Leitchs Road – SalvosDrop off – Return-It
Capalaba16/82 Redland Bay RoadDepot – Advanced Metal Recyclers
Capalaba6 Merrit Street (Lifeline)Drop off – Return-It
Capalaba7/71 Redland Bay Road – SalvosDrop off – Return-It
Cleveland 25-32 Shore Street – SalvosDrop off – Return-It
Darra18 Sumners RoadDepot – The Big Red Shed
Geebung428 Bilsen RoadDepot – TOMRA
Geebung8 Railway Parade – SalvosDrop off – Return-It
Jindalee24 Goggs RoadDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling
Lutwyche554 Lutwyche RoadDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling
MacGregor555 Kessels RoadDrop off and Reverse Vending Machine – Envirobank Recycling
Murarrie913 Lytton RoadDepot – United Scrap Metal
Newstead52 Doggett Street -SalvosDrop off – Return-It
Oxley63 Factory Road – VinniesDrop off- Return-It
Red Hill80 Gelnrosa Road – SalvosDrop off- Return-It
RedcliffePeninsula Surf Life Saving Club Lot 1 Marine ParadeDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
RedcliffeAshmole Road & Klingner RoadDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
Salisbury655 Toohey RoadDepot – TOMRA Collection
Sandgate77 Rainbow Street – SalvosDrop off- Return-It
SeventeenMile Rocks 9 Counihan RoadDepot – TOMRA Collection
Sherwood450 Sherwood Road – SalvosDrop off- Return-It
Sinnamon Park532 Seventeen Mile RocksRoad – Salvos Drop off- Return-It
St Lucia342 Carmody RoadDepot – Post Office
Tingalpa302-308 New Cleveland RoadDepot – TOMRA Collection
Tingalpa1469 Wynnum RoadDrop Off and Reverse Vending Machine- Envirobank Recycling
West End281 Montague RoadDepot – TOMRA Collection
Wynnum119 Bay Terrace – SalvosDrop off- Return-It
Wynnum WestWynnum Plaza Shopping Centre 2021 Wynnum RdDrop 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.

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.

Container Types

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.

Other States


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.


Western Australia

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.”


Other Countries

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).

Pfand rates

(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 Does The German Pfand System Work, And Is It Effective?

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.