The Department of Environment and Science is considering an extension of the State’s Containers for Change program to include glass wine and spirit bottles.
The Department is to gauge the community’s views on growing the scheme, which has already seen more than 5.5 billion containers recycled through refund points and $540 million in refunds issued since it was launched in 2018.
Minister for the Environment, Meaghan Scanlon said before Containers for Change was introduced only 18 per cent of beverage containers were recovered and recycled.
“Today, that number has grown threefold to 65 per cent. It’s a huge achievement, but there’s still more to do,” Ms Scanlon said.
Currently, the Containers for Change program accepts most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers.
“Making more containers eligible for refunds makes it easier for people to recycle, particularly in more regional and remote communities where they might not have a recycling bin,” Ms Scanlon said.
“From the perspective of Queensland’s fast-growing recycling industry, it also means beverage containers can be sorted and manufactured into new products quicker.”
However, any decision to expand the scheme to include wine and spirit bottles had to be backed by the community “so we’ll be going out next month to Queenslanders to get their feedback”.
Chief Executive of the Australian Beverages Council, Geoff Parker said the non-alcoholic drinks industry fully supported the Government’s planned review.
“We know Queenslanders care for the environment and want to save even more drinks containers from ending up in landfill by being recycled through the Containers for Change scheme,” Mr Parker said.
Ms Scanlon said in addition to community consultation, a discussion paper would also be released seeking industry feedback.
The consultation is expected to launch in December and run through to February 2023.