Eight billion containers returned through refund scheme

Published Saturday, 23 March, 2024 at 10:45 AM

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Innovation
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • Eight billion containers have now been returned through the Miles Government’s Containers for Change scheme.
  • The hugely popular scheme has put $800 million back in Queenslanders’ pockets.
  • There has been a sharp increase in glass bottles returned following the scheme’s expansion in late 2023 to include glass wine and spirit bottles.

Eight billion drink containers have been returned through the Miles Government’s hugely popular Containers for Change scheme.

Environment Minister Leanne Linard and Container Exchange CEO Natalie Roach celebrated the latest milestone today at the Community Co Recycling Depot in Windsor on Brisbane’s northside.

The Containers for Change scheme was launched in November 2018 and provides 10-cent refunds for eligible drink containers.

The scheme has continued to grow from strength to strength. It has taken just six months to reach this latest milestone, after the seven billionth container was returned in September 2023.

A record 175,805,461 containers were returned in January alone, surpassing the previous record of 157.5 million achieved in January 2023.

In an Australian-first, the Queensland scheme was expanded in November 2023 to allow glass wine and spirit bottles to the returned. Since then, the scheme has recorded a 13.5% increase in the quantity of glass bottles being returned.

Importantly, Queenslanders who have returned eligible containers have shared in $800 million in refunds. This includes around $12 million paid to charities and community groups.

Quotes attributable to Environment Minister, Leanne Linard:

“I am advised that eight billion containers equate to 400,000 tonnes of waste and if the containers were laid end to end, they would wrap around Earth’s equator 35 times.

“This is a phenomenal amount of waste that has been diverted from landfill and instead recycled and reused thanks to our Containers for Change scheme. This is great news for our unique natural environment.

“It’s also great news for Queenslanders who have shared in $800 million in refunds through the scheme.

“It is really exciting to see how our container refund scheme continues to grow and I congratulate Queenslanders for their ongoing efforts to return containers and receive a refund.

“The Miles Government wants to see the scheme continue to grow. That’s why I am continuing to work with the board and CEO of Container Exchange on new ideas to further increase the rate of container recycling.

Quotes attributable to Natalie Roach, chief executive officer of Container Exchange: 

"This fantastic result highlights the ongoing dedication of Queenslanders to container recycling, with over 8 billion containers returned since 2018.

“The success of Containers for Change is truly remarkable and has had a significant impact on our environment, keeping 8 billion drink containers from ending up as litter or landfill.

“And importantly, Containers for Change has now returned $800 million to the pockets of Queenslanders, which is making a real difference in communities right across the state.

“With Containers for Change now including glass wine and spirit bottles, more and more Queenslanders are taking part. In fact, this past summer we have seen record container volumes returned, further underscoring the positive impact of Containers for Change.

“While this milestone of 8 billion containers returned is cause for celebration, we know there are so many more opportunities to make sure no container goes to waste in Queensland. 

“Getting started on a container collecting journey and experiencing the benefits of Containers for Change is easier than ever.

“Customers can simply download the Containers for Change app to keep track of their refunds and select their preferred container refund point from depots, 24-hour bag drops, self-serve reverse vending machine kiosks and free home collection.”  

Further information:

For more information on Containers for Change, please visit www.containersforchange.com.au/qld.


Media contact: Scott Chandler – (07) 3719 7339