Queensland is about to launch its container refund scheme.
Queensland is about to launch its container refund scheme.

Container refunds: Everything you need to know

IF YOU'RE looking for a quick financial fix through Queensland's new container return scheme, you'd better not crush cans or remove labels from bottles.

Otherwise you could miss out on an instant return when Containers For Change starts at 230 statewide depots next Thursday.

Queenslanders will receive 10c for every container returned, and refunds will be paid either in cash or by bank deposit.

There will be three ways to process returns, and the most popular method is expected to be via reverse vending machines (RVM) at shopping centres across the southeast.

The other methods involve receiving cash from an over-the-counter audit or leaving your stash of containers to be counted overnight via a bag drop with the refund to be paid by bank transfer.

The RVM's are expected to get a thorough workout because of their accessibility and locations but you have to pre-register before you insert containers or use the bag drop service to receive your refund.

Customers will need to place containers one at a time into an RVM for the barcodes to be scanned to determine if they are eligible for a refund.

If a can was crushed or the label was missing from a bottle, the container would have to be taken to a depot for manual processing, Container Exchange spokesman Adam Nicholson said.

Container Exchange is overseeing the scheme and Mr Nicholson said there would be 300 depots across Queensland when the scheme was at its peak.


Queensland is about to launch its container refund scheme.
Queensland is about to launch its container refund scheme.


"If you have any trouble with a container accepted by a reverse vending machine, take it to a depot that involves a manual count or an overnight drop," Mr Nicholson said.

Container manufacturers are expected to start altering barcodes from November 1 to allow scanning machines to more easily identify eligible items.

However, consumers would be able to seek refunds for containers purchased before the start-up date until December 1, 2019, Mr Nicholson said.

"The reverse vending machines will be in the high-volume tourist areas," he said.

"They will start changing the labels (barcodes), but people will have 13 months to bring in containers for a refund for those purchased before November 1."

The return point depots would be run by authorised agents and some outlets would be approved to immediately offer a cash refund.

The setback for consumers was that from next Thursday prices would rise across the board on all items packaged in eligible containers.

Mr Nicholson said the actual cost of running the scheme was closer to 17c per container although it was offset by the on-selling of containers to recycling businesses.

The cost included an agent's fee of 6c per container and a 10.2c surcharge per container charged to manufacturers.


Queensland is about to launch its container refund scheme.
Queensland is about to launch its container refund scheme.


Coca Cola Amatil spokesman Patrick Low said they would raise their prices by 10.38c per container from November 1 and that included .18c to cover administration costs.

He said when the scheme was rolled out in New South Wales last December, beer drinkers felt the price hike more than most because they bought their stock in bulk.

"It had a more noticeable effect on beer drinkers than other drinkers because they usually buy a case," he said.

"It seemed to have less impact on spirit drinkers because it was just 10c added to one bottle. It was also noticeable for people who bought bottled water in large quantities."

Mr Nicholson predicted of 230 depots to open on November 1, about 30 per cent would offer a "bag drop" service.

He suggested for people who could afford to wait, they should visit a depot towards the end of the month or simply drop their booty of cans and bottles off for to be processed overnight.

"We are expecting the first months to be pretty hectic," Mr Nicholson said.

"If people can wait a few weeks until after the rush, they may find it easier to process their refund."


How to obtain a refund

Registration: The scheme is called Containers For Change. You need to a "scheme ID" to receive a refund via a vending machine or bag drop. It's as simple as following this link to sign up. An activation code will be sent to your email address. You must be at least 13 years of age to register.

Reverse vending machine: The refund is dependent on the machine being able to scan bar codes on each container.

Bag drop: Rather than wait, you drop off your stash in labelled bags. Once the bags are processed the money is paid into your bank account.

Over the counter: The easiest way to receive instant cash and registration not required. You have to wait while your containers are manually counted. Check first if the outlet pays cash. There will only be about 14 depots offering cash refunds when the scheme starts on November 1.


Depots by the numbers

* At least 40 refund points will have a bag drop and RVM at the site.

* More than 40 refund points will be RVM-only, and will mainly be located at southeast Queensland shopping centres.

* Ten refund points will have all three facilities, Depot, Bag drop, RVM in one.

* At least 14 container refund points have a bag drop at their over-the-counter depot.


Where to go

For selected southeast Queensland depots, go to this link and punch in your postcode or suburb.


Which containers

* Bottles and cans need to be between 150ml and 3l.

* Plain milk containers, wine and spirit bottles, flavoured, pure juice, cask wine and water are all ineligible.

* Containers over 1l for favoured milk, fruit and vegetable juice, cask wine and cask water are a no-no. These can all still be placed in your kerbside recyclable bin

* Containers purchased interstate are also ineligible.


More FAQs

Are there fees? There are no bank transfer fees

Is there a minimum deposit? You can deposit as little as one can.

When is money deposited? Funds are transferred every 24 hours.

How many containers can a RVM process per minute? In a best-case scenario, and for someone who is extremely familiar with the machines, they are capable of scanning one can per second but it's more likely to be half or even less than that for irregular users.

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