How it works
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Collect eligible containers
Recycling efforts are focused on drinks generally consumed away from home (eg. soft drinks, water bottles, small flavoured milk). Drink containers generally consumed only at home (eg. cordial, plain milk, wine and spirit bottles, condiments and cleaning) are excluded. Check if your container is eligible for a refund below.
Be sure that the containers are empty and have the caps off.
Cans and bottles crushed by hand can be returned at any container refund point in the network. These containers will need to go through the container refund point's bag drop service if the refund point is a reverse vending machine.
Most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and three litres are eligible for a refund when returned to a container refund point. To be eligible the beverage container must:
- Have contained a beverage product that is not excluded from the scheme. For example, cordials and plain milk are not included in the scheme so containers that have held these products are not eligible for a refund
- Display the refund mark. This is so that the container refund point operator can see if the container is part of the scheme. Most containers will already have a refund mark for SA and NT and these containers are eligible under Containers for Change. Beverage manufacturers have until 1 December 2019 to display the new refund mark on their containers
- Be an approved container. Some containers are made out of materials that cannot be recycled. These containers may not be approved (by the Queensland Government) as an eligible container as the scheme requires that when a refund is paid on a container that container must be recycled.
There are some beverage containers that are not eligible for a refund. Generally excluded containers are those that are less than 150ml and greater than three litres. Other excluded containers include:
- Any plain milk containers
- Any glass containers which have contained wine or pure spirits
- Containers 1L or more which have contained flavoured milk, pure fruit or vegetable juice, cask wine or cask water
- Concentrated/undiluted cordial or syrup containers
- Sachets above 250ml which have contained wine
- Registered health tonics
Excluded containers, such as plain milk bottles and glass wine bottles, can still be recycled through existing kerbside collection or bag drop services.
Create your scheme account
Sign-up for a scheme account below; it's the easy way to receive your refund via an electronic funds transfer (EFT) into your bank account.
Other refund payment options are available (cash, voucher, donation) and do not require a scheme account. Please check with your local container refund point operator for available payment options.
Note: Envirobank and TOMRA refund point operators currently use their own loyalty programs and require separate scheme account sign-ups.
Return containers to a collection point
There are four different types of container refund points available, including over-the-counter depots, bag drops, reverse vending machines (RVMs), and mobile and pop-up refund points. You can also donate your containers at donation points.
Over-the-counter depots, using manual or electronic scanners, will count your containers immediately and provide refunds in cash or via an electronic funds transfer (EFT) into your bank account – depending on the quantity of containers you have. You will also be able to donate your containers to a community group or charity, using their unique scheme ID.
Some over-the-counter depots will also provide a bag drop service, allowing customers to quickly drop off their bags of containers. See below section for further details on this type of refund point.
Bag drops are a convenient way to recycle your containers and receive a refund. There are three key steps to remember:
- Bag it: bag your containers using a multi-use plastic bags or bags from your local container refund point
- Tag it: tag your containers using labels from your local container refund point or your own, displaying your scheme ID and transaction ID
- Drop it: drop off your containers at your local container refund point
Where do I get my multi-use bag from?
- Multi-use bags or shopping bags can be purchased from most supermarkets
- Use existing multi-use bags you have at home
- Some operators provides bags as promotional material to build loyalty
Just remember to ensure that you can secure the bag to ensure the containers don’t fall out.
Some operators have limits to the amount of bags you can drop at one time. Please call the operator in advance to avoid disappointment.
A quick note...
Containers for Change is all about reducing litter and increasing recycling efforts; keeping our state beautiful. So, it’s only natural that we encourage use of multi-use bags. The Queensland Government took action to protect our unique environment and wildlife through the introduction of a ban on the supply of single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags this year after estimating close to one billion single-use lightweight plastic shopping were used in the state each year.
Using either your scheme ID or the unique ID of your local community group or charity, you can scan the barcode and insert uncrushed cans, plastic bottles and liquid paperboard containers into your local RVM.
Please note that crushed containers are not accepted at RVMs.
Mobile and pop-up container refund points will provide a scheduled service, allowing customers, community groups and charities to return their containers for a refund either in cash or to the scheme ID provided. These points are operated by over-the-counter depots or drop-offs; usually using a trailer with a cage parked at a regional location such as a community store or supermarket, for a few hours on a Saturday morning (for example).
Pop-up container refund points operate at one-off events or functions. A pop-up may be used as a physical donation point for events such as school fetes.
There are two types of donation points; physical and virtual.
Physical donation are run by community and sporting groups, charities, and not for profit organisations to raise funds. Information on the physical location of registered donation points will be shared once known.
Virtual donation allows any community group, school or sporting group, charity and not-for-profit to register with the scheme and receive a scheme ID. This exciting process enables groups to share their scheme ID with their customers, supporters and network base, without physically operating a container refund point themselves.
When you take your containers to an over-the-counter depot, bag drop, RVM or mobile or pop-up site, simply use the groups schemeID to donate your containers and the nominated group will receive the 10 cent refund.
Collect (or donate) your refund
When you return your containers to a refund point you can choose whichever refund payment or donation method is offered by that refund point operator. Payments are made in one or more of the following ways:
Some/most over-the-counter depots, using manual or electronic scanners, will count your containers immediately and provide refunds in cash.
When signing-up for a scheme ID, you must specify your bank details. This will ensure that payments made to your scheme ID are paid via an electronic funds transfer (EFT) into your bank account.
Some container refund points offer vouchers for payment, for example, for use at a retail outlet. Please check with your local container refund point operator for available payment options.
When you take your containers to an over-the-counter depot, bag drop, RVM or mobile or pop-up site, simply use the group's scheme ID to donate your containers to your nominated group who then receive the 10 cent refund.