The Container Journey

Beverage Manufacturers

Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change, is a product stewardship scheme meaning beverage suppliers who sell eligible beverage containers in Queensland take responsibility for reducing the environmental impact of their containers by funding the scheme. This includes the 10 cent refund paid to customers when returning the eligible containers and the costs of administering the scheme.

Customers

Queenslanders benefit from a 10 cent refund on eligible drink containers returned through the Containers for Change scheme.

Customers can return eligible containers to a container refund point (CRP) to receive their refund. They can sign up for a scheme ID and use it at the CRP to be paid via EFT or PayPal.

Alternatively, they can donate their refund at the CRP to a registered charity or community group using the group’s scheme ID.

Customers can download the Containers for Change QLD app for easy access to their personal and favourite causes’ IDs.

Community Groups and Customers

The Containers for Change scheme creates fundraising opportunities for charities, schools, community and sporting groups.

These groups can raise money through the scheme in several ways:

  • collect eligible containers and return them to a container refund point (CRP) for 10 cents a container,
  • encourage Queenslanders to donate container refunds to their cause via their unique scheme ID,
  • partner or register with a local CRP operator to access container collection infrastructure like cages or bins, or
  • become a CRP themselves (subject to discussions with COEX).

Groups can learn more at https://cfcqld.com/fundraise

Container refund points

Queensland is home to a network of more than 300 CRPs, spanning the state from Goondiwindi to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Operators of CRPs include independent businesses, councils, social enterprise and community groups who enter into an agreement with COEX.

Operators are responsible for:

  • collecting, counting and sorting returned containers,
  • paying the 10 cent refund amount to customers, and
  • preparing materials for transport to a processor.

Material Recovery Facilities

MRFs sort recyclable materials collected through kerbside recycling bins and prepare it for sale.

COEX pays MRFs a refund on any eligible containers that make their way through this stream. Profits are then shared with the MRFs partnering local council as outlined in their own agreements.

Logisitics

Logistics providers are responsible for the safe and efficient transportation of containers from container refund points to a centre for further processing.

Processors

Processors are responsible for:

  • providing container collection infrastructure to container refund point (CRP) operators,
  • verifying the number of containers received from CRPs, and preparing them for sale (e.g. by crushing materials into bales for sale to the market), and
  • managing the transfer of sold materials to the purchasing recycler.

Auction portal

All materials prepared by processors are sold to accredited recyclers through an online auction portal.

As COEX is a not-for-profit organisation, any auction returns are reinvested into COEX to fund the scheme’s running costs. These costs include 10 cent container refunds as well as the cost of administration and logistics.

Accredited recyclers

All containers returned through the scheme are recycled into new products.

COEX uses an online auction portal to sell materials from the scheme to accredited recyclers. Recyclers must go through several checks before being approved to sit on the recycling panel.

The processed materials bought by the panel are reused in the manufacture of a wide range of products, for example:

  • PET (polyethylene terephthalate) a synthetic resin found in soft drink bottles can be used to make clothing and textiles, automotive parts, industrial strapping and more,
  • HDPE (high-density polyethylene) a high-density plastic found in milk bottles and shampoo containers can be used to make hard hats,
  • aluminium cans are melted into aluminium ingots and used in manufacturing items like new aluminium cans, engine clocks and aeroplane wings, and
  • glass bottles can be reprocessed into glass bottles or a glass sand used as a building aggregate for road construction, bedding sand and asphalt.