The Torres Strait has welcomed its first ever Containers for Change refund point on Badu Island, marking the region’s first local access to Queensland’s container refund scheme.
Containers for Change Badu Island depot began operating in December last year and has already processed more than 100,000 empty drink containers in exchange for more than $10,000 in refunds – an incredible effort for a community of around 1200 residents.
The depot is celebrating its official opening on April 20, with all members of the community welcomed to the event which will include a welcome to country and local dancers.
Containers for Change Badu Island operator Edmund Tamwoy says the community has been thrilled to be the first Torres Strait community to have their own container refund point, with drink containers previously being returned over 800km away in Cairns.
“It used to be a lot of effort for example, the school P&C had to return their containers using a boat all the way to Cairns, but now we have a way to cash in locally and the money stays in the community,” he said.
Mr Tamwoy says almost every resident of the island has returned drink containers since his site became operational mid-December last year, with the amount of litter reducing overnight.
“Before we opened if people had a party, you’d see glass or cans littering the street – as soon as we started Containers for Change that disappeared completely,”
“Everyone is taking part, we have a little boy around six-years-old who collected more than $600 in just the first three weeks – that’s 6000 containers,”
“People are caring about country more than ever, especially children walking around collecting containers keeping the country clean because they have a rewarding incentive,” he said.
The site currently employs three workers and is open two days a week, with extended hours and more staff expected in the coming months.
“Crystal Ailan is our container refund site name, using our local word for island” said Mr Tamwoy.
“We are excited to be in partnership with Containers for Change through Crystal Ailan to help our people get their container refunds and keep our community clean and beautiful.”
Natalie Roach, chief executive of Container Exchange the not-for-profit that operates the Containers for Change program in Queensland, says Badu’s official opening marks an exciting milestone in the Torres Strait.
“The incredible community response we’ve seen on Badu Island in its first months of operation demonstrates the social, economic and environmental impact the Containers for Change program can have,” Ms Roach said.
“We are excited to engage with more communities across the Torres Strait as we work to ensure every Queenslander can have access to convenient container refunds, no matter where they live.
“Congratulations to all residents of Badu Island and the surrounding communities on your incredible achievement of returning 100,000 containers, we look forward to seeing even more returned in the future.”
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