New Container Deposit Scheme to Launch in Queensland

On 1 November 2018, Queensland will become the fifth state in Australia to implement a container deposit scheme.  The new scheme, known as the Container Refund Scheme, will aim to improve the state’s low recycling rates, which currently sit at 44%.[1] Queensland not only has one of the country’s lowest recycling rates but further, from 2015/16-2016/17 their volume of litter increased by 38% which was the highest increase in the nation.[2]

In this article, Container Deposit Systems reviews the overall scheme and how it will benefit the community and the recycling industry.

The Container Refund Scheme Lifecycle

The Queensland Container Refund Scheme is modelled on the South Australian Container Deposit Scheme; which offers a 10c refund for the return of eligible containers to eligible collection points.[3] The new scheme currently has 230 eligible container collection points ready to go and the program has estimated this will increase to 300 by the end of next year.[4]

In a similar strategy to established schemes nation-wide, the program will work on a 10c refund principal. Eligible beverage containers will increase in price by 10c. This cost is passed from manufacturer to retailer and then onto the consumer. Once the consumer returns the container to a refund point, they will receive the 10c refund.

 Queensland Container Recycling Circle.jpg

What can be recycled?

The Container Refund Scheme is similar to other schemes and eligible containers are focused around those which cause the most litter.  Therefore, most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and 3L are eligible and they must:

  • Have contained a beverage product that is not excluded from the scheme
  • Display the refund mark
  • Be an approved container (some containers are made out of materials that cannot be recycled)

Non-eligible items 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

How can Queensland residents use the scheme?

The first step for local residents is to view the refund options for your local container collection point. You can find your local point here:

The new scheme enables four types of refunds: EFT deposit, cash, voucher or donation. Some collection points will offer different options. The scheme is encouraging participants to set up an account online, so refunds can be managed via EFT transfers.  You can create an account here:

 Queensland Container Refund System.png

Once your account is established, it’s as simple as collecting eligible containers, returning these to a local collection point (make sure it is registered) and then collecting your refund.

Who runs the Scheme?

The Container Refund Scheme, which was recognised as part of the Queensland Parliament Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill, received bipartisan support in September 2017; showcasing the state's dedication to tackling this current recycling crisis.[5]

The new Container Refund Scheme will be managed and operated by a Product Responsibility Organisation (PRO).  Container Exchange was appointed the PRO to manage the process for the program.

Container Exchange is a not-for-profit that is solely focused on managing the aims of the Container Refund Scheme which is to: reduce beverage container litter and foster job opportunities in recycling by working closely with local businesses, social enterprises and community groups.

Benefits for the community

There is mounting evidence that container deposit schemes are highly positive for the community and the environment. A recent study has found that container deposits reduced the number of beverage containers on the coasts of both the United States and Australia by 40%.[6] Further, in both Australia and the US, the proportion of beverage container litter in states without a deposit scheme was about 1.6 times higher than their neighbours.[7]

In addition to benefits for the environment, particularly the oceans, schemes are highly favoured by residents who see results of cleaner streets and reduced waste.  In Victoria, 84% of residents support the introduction of a container deposit scheme, highlighting the demand from locals.[8]

Community groups can also benefit from container deposit (refund) schemes. The new Queensland scheme encourages community groups to register to receive containers as donations. The community groups will receive both the donation of 10c and a handling fee. For more information about signing up your community group, or donating to a group, please visit:

Benefits of the recycling and waste management industry

Container deposit schemes greatly support local economies via creating new jobs, increasing demand for industry services and via public and private investment into new technologies.  However, companies need to ensure they are prepared for the increase in recycled goods to ensure they leverage the new state of play.

As more residents in Queensland take up the new scheme, the supply of recycled goods to recycling depots/facilities will continue to increase. Facilities that are equipped to process large batches will ultimately be able to leverage this surge.

The new Container Refund Scheme is an opportune time for Queensland based recycling depots/facilities to review their processes and policies to ensure they have an optimal system in place that can manage an increased supply.  Both infrastructure and technology are required to increase productivity when it comes to processing containers.

Container Deposit Systems has worked with the recycling industry across Australia to support integrating new technologies to drive improved processes.  This has increase facility efficiencies; resulting in higher gross profit margins. 

More importantly, increased efficiencies have enabled facilities to increase the amount of stock they are able to process; thus, reducing the amount of total waste that ends up in landfills. Container Deposit Systems expects to see similar trends occur in Queensland and the company is looking forward to working with local recycling depots to increase the states poor performing recycling rates.

To support local facilities fund new recycling investments, the Queensland Government has launched the Container Refund Scheme Small Scale Infrastructure Grants Program: and has other programs such as the Business Growth Fund Program: available for companies to leverage to implement new infrastructure and technologies.


About Container Deposit Systems

Container Deposit Systems was formed with a vision to oversee the implementation of improved operational practices in recycling facilities.  The company offers a range of services to recycling depot facilities to drive productivity improvements and transition traditional recycling facilities into modern technically advanced operators.

The company achieve this through patented technologies which deliver manufacturing automation to auto-sort materials via a highly sensitive multi-sensor integration.  Systems integrations enable facilities to further gain efficiencies through workflows, materials handling, logistic processes, facility layout and design, customer interaction and data acquisition and management. 

Container Deposit Systems technologies are designed and manufactured in Australia with local partners Sage Automation and Macweld Engineering.

For more information, please contact us directly.