Cash in your containers

01 November 2018

From 1 November, residents can turn used beverage containers into cold, hard cash.

The Queensland Government is introducing the scheme in a bid to reduce the amount of beverage container litter that enters our environment.

The new state-wide refund scheme - Containers for Change - provides residents an incentive to collect and return containers for recycling, in exchange for a 10 cent refund.

Here are the basics of what you need to know about the refund scheme:

How does it work?

Eligible containers can be exchanged for a 10 cent refund at authorised container refund points.

They can also be donated at authorised donation points set up by local community groups or charities, in which case the charity or group would receive the 10 cent refund.

Containers can be returned by individuals or organisations and any number of containers can be returned at one time, providing the specific container refund point has capacity to accept them.

Where can I take my containers?

The scheme will launch with 230 refund points across the state.

For more details, including opening hours and contact numbers of container refund points, visit Containers for change

What are the different types of collection points?

Over-the-counter depots

Using manual or electronic scanners, these depots will count your containers straight away and provide refunds in cash or via an electronic funds transfer into your bank account – depending on how many containers you have.

Drop-offs (bag it, tag it, drop it)

  • Bag it: bag your containers using a bag from a local container refund point or use your own. Single-use plastic bags are not suitable.
  • Tag it: tag your containers using labels from your local container refund point, displaying your scheme ID and transaction ID. Find out more about scheme and transaction IDs at Containers for change
  • Drop it: drop off your containers at your local container refund point.

Reverse Vending Machines

Using your scheme ID or unique ID of your local community group or charity, you can scan the barcode and insert uncrushed cans, plastic bottles and liquid paperboard containers into a reverse vending machine.

What containers are eligible?

Most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and 3L are eligible for a refund.

Most containers will already have a refund mark for SA and NT and these containers are eligible under Containers for Change. Beverage manufacturers have until 1 December 2019 to display the new refund mark on their containers.

Containers must be empty. Rinsing them before returning is not essential but it will help you store them cleanly. Caps should also be removed from bottles.

The following containers are not eligible:

  • Any beverage container less than 150ml
  • Any beverage container more than 3L
  • Any size or material type of container used for:
    • Undiluted cordial containers
    • Fruit or vegetable juice concentrate
    • Registered health tonics
    • Plain milk
  • Glass containers of any size for wine or pure spirits
  • Containers over 1L in size which have contained:
  • Flavoured milk
  • Pure fruit juice
  • Pure vegetable juice
  • Cask water
  • Cask wine
  • Wine sachets of more than 250ml or less than 150ml

A full list of eligible containers can be found at the Department of Environment and Science

Collecting/donating your refund

When you return your containers to a refund point you can choose whichever refund payment or donation method is offered by that refund point operator. Payments are made in one or more of the following ways:


Some/most over-the-counter depots, using manual or electronic scanners, will count your containers immediately and provide refunds in cash.

Electronic funds transfer (EFT)

When signing-up for a scheme ID, you must specify your bank details. This will ensure that payments made to your scheme ID are paid via an electronic funds transfer (EFT) into your bank account. You can create your scheme account and ID at Containers for change.


Some container refund points offer vouchers for payment, for example, for use at a retail outlet. Please check with your local container refund point operator for available payment options.

Donate your containers

When you take your containers to an over-the-counter depot, drop-off, Reverse Vending Machine or mobile or pop-up site, simply use the group's scheme ID to donate your containers to your nominated group who then receive the 10 cent refund.

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