From trash to cash
Queensland residents are taking full advantage of the container refund scheme with 7.5 million dollars returned to central Queenslanders (1). In November 2018 Queensland launched the scheme giving an incentive to collect and return containers, aluminum cans or bottles for recycling in exchange for a 10c refund payment. The scheme not only exchanges trash for cash, but it also creates job opportunities, cleans up the streets and diverts these containers from landfill. Amanda McCasker from Kanga Bins reported that 'it's been an awesome scheme. It has exceeded expectations. There's nothing I can see about the scheme that is not good.' She continued on to say that for customers keen to give back to the community Kanga Bins has 'charities of the month so anyone that does want to donate to a charity they have got the choice of picking which charity they want it to go to' (1). Given there are so many benefits of the scheme it's no wonder Queensland residents are refunding high volumes of containers.
With depots offering charity donations for individuals to select when refunding, charities are also taking advantage of the scheme. Organisations like Wheels on Meals are benefitting from the scheme to directly support their clients. Clare Cates from Meals on Wheels shared that workers are 'taking bags out and collecting from our clients any empty containers they have got' (2). The refund is then processed and the charity is able to use the funds to continue to deliver meals to their clients. Minister for Environment Leeanna Enoch is pleased with the scheme sharing '1 billion containers are now no longer in our litter stream' as a result of the container deposit scheme.
In the Sunshine Coast, a young couple has undertaken an inspiring goal to pay for their wedding using the container refund scheme. The couple was originally planning to wed in Vanuatu where they got engaged but have decided to marry in the Sunshine Coast and then head to Vanuatu for their honeymoon. Leonie Starr and Matthew Porter have so far secured their venue, celebrant, and catering using the money attained from refunding containers (3). Since November 2018 the couple has been diligent in collecting bottles and cans. So far they have returned 90,000 containers which have raised $9000 for their wedding. Ms. Starr said 'the guys know me quite well at the depot. I'm there 14 maybe 15 times a week'.
The dream to pay for their wedding in 2020 has been a team effort. Family, friends and local community members have all assisted the couple, in raising the money through recycling. Ms. Starr sharing 'I created a Facebook page for everyone in the community to be able to contact me and let me know if they've got bottles for me to come around and pick up. Otherwise, I was collecting them all from the beaches, the side of the road and in our parks so I've been very busy' (3). Ms. Starr shared that while the process of collecting is a never-ending source of income, it is disappointing to see so much litter in the environment. She feels that 'the more people that get involved the better because there are so many road, so many highways and there is still so much litter along the beaches, which is unfortunate – good for us but not for the environment'. The couple are successfully funding their wedding and will continue.
Leonie and Matthew's plan is in-line with the scheme as it marks its one-year milestone this month in Queensland. Amazingly, more than $100 million dollars has so far been paid out to charities, households, and schools throughout Queensland (3). Meaning one billion containers have been deposited since the container refund scheme began on 1st of November 2018. The state has 330 designated container refund points. Adam Nicholson from Container Exchange reported that he 'knew it was going to be popular, but we didn't think it would be to this level. To reach 1 billion is fantastic'. The State Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch has heard many stories of success resulting from the scheme, 'I've met families who have created accounts for their small children under the age of five and they've created those accounts with the idea that their family members would donate into that through their refund points' she continued that 'those children would then, once they reach the right age, they would be able to buy their own care for instance' (3). In further excitement she stated she is 'hearing stories like this one over and over again – whether it's from individuals and their families or couples who are looking to fund their wedding'.
Container Deposit Systems (CDS) offers technology that allows recycling facilities to process refunds quickly and simply. CDS provides improved customer service and relationships as well as a highly secure and auditable product management system. CDS offers recycling customers Automatic Redemption Terminals. These are scalable customer interface machines that allow for quick throughput of cans, bottles, and containers utilizing a high level of customer self-service under depot supervision. The ART system can be fully self-contained with integrated Cash Redemption Terminals or can be customized into a range of settings. The system can be scaled up to integrate sorting systems. A CRT is a secure cash dispensing terminal that offers automated payment of deposit upon scanning of a barcoded ticket, provided by the customer. The CRT is paired with various count and sort technology depending on the scale of the facility. It provides in-time data capture, secure cash management and 24-hour service support across Australia. With cash for trash increasing in popularity CDS is able to provide support and technology to customers.
1.https://www.facebook.com/ WINNewsCentralQueensland/ videos/vb.231442566865801/ 2203027540001575/?type=2& theater
2.https://www.facebook.com/ 7NEWSGoldCoast/videos/ 739050643236204/ UzpfSTYxODc3NDAyODMwNzk2MDoxMj Y4MTY2OTgwMDM1MzI1/?epa= SEARCH_BOX
3. https://www.abc.net.au/news/ 2019-11-01/couple-funding- wedding-through-container- refund-scheme-update/11664644