Skip links and keyboard navigation

The Queensland Government is now in caretaker mode until after the state election. Minimal updates will be made to this site until after the election results are declared.

Container Refund Scheme

Empty beverage (drink) containers contribute to the volume of litter in Queensland. Litter is a preventable problem that has serious environmental and public health impacts. Beverage container litter is largely associated with beverage consumption in open air settings such as parks, beaches, malls and car parks.

Queensland’s recycling rate is one of the lowest in Australia, currently sitting at around 44%.

The introduction of a state-wide scheme will give people an incentive to collect and return containers for recycling, in exchange for a refund payment. This will help to:

  • reduce the amount of drink container litter that enters the environment
  • increase Queensland’s recycling rate.

Queensland’s container refund scheme will commence on 1 July 2018.

Under the Scheme, a 10 cent refund will be provided for eligible, empty beverage containers between 150ml and 3l in size that are returned to a participating container refund point.

The scheme will provide social enterprise, community, and regional and remote area benefits by creating new job and recycling opportunities. It will also provide recycling opportunities for communities that do not currently have access to kerbside recycling services.

During extensive public consultation on the discussion paper Implementing Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme, released in 2017, the Queensland Government received overwhelming public and community support for the introduction of the scheme. See a summary of results from the consultation - Implementing the Container Refund Scheme in Queensland.

Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme follows other schemes already operating in South Australia and the Northern Territory, and New South Wales – commencing on 1 December 2017.

    How will the Container Refund Scheme work?

    Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme is a product stewardship arrangement with the costs of operating the scheme and recovering the containers for recycling, paid for by beverage manufacturers. This means that beverage manufacturers will be taking responsibility for ensuring that the environmental impacts from the empty beverage containers are reduced.

    A Product Responsibility Organisation (PRO) will run and administer the scheme. The PRO will be responsible for ensuring that an effective and efficient scheme operates in Queensland, and that there is convenient and statewide access to container refund points.

    Queenslanders will be able to return eligible containers that attract a 10 cent refund via a container refund point. A series of container refund points will be established across Queensland which will collect eligible empty containers in exchange for the payment of a refund. These container refund points may operate on a permanent, temporary or mobile basis.

    For Queenslanders who prefer to donate their beverage container to a community group, sports club or another organisation, a number of container return points will be available across the state. Collecting donated eligible empty containers will allow these community groups to generate funds to supplement their revenue and continue to operate.

    Information regarding the location of refund and return points will be made available ahead of the scheme commencing on 1 July 2018.

    Which containers are included in the scheme?

    Most aluminium, glass, PET, HDPE, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and 3L will be eligible under the scheme.

    After a period of transition, all eligible containers will also be required to display a refund marking that will make it easy for people to see which containers can be returned for a refund.

    See the full list of inclusions and exclusions (PDF, 52KB).

    Which containers are excluded from the scheme

    A number of different types of containers will not be eligible for a refund under the scheme. These include:

    • plain milk containers
    • glass containers which have contained wine or pure spirits
    • large containers (1L or more) that have contained flavoured milk, pure juice, cask wine or cask water
    • cordial or vegetable juice containers
    • sachets above 250ml that have contained wine
    • registered health tonics

    See the full list of inclusions and exclusions (PDF, 52KB).

    What can you do now?

    • Continue to use existing recycling options for your empty beverage containers both at- and away-from-home
    • If you are out bushwalking or enjoying the environment please remember not to litter and take any empty beverage containers (and other empty packaging) with you until you get to a bin.
    • In the lead up to 1 July 2018, keep an eye out for information about the Container Refund Scheme including container refund points and container return points (where you can ‘donate’ your containers to organisations such as Scouts, Surf Lifesaving and other community and charitable organisations) in your area.

    To receive updates about the scheme, please subscribe to WASTENOTes.



    To stay up-to-date on how the government is managing plastic waste, please subscribe to WASTE NOTes Bulletin.

    Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
    Last updated
    14 September 2017
    1. Is your feedback about:
    2. (If you chose ‘website’ above)

      Page feedback

      1. How satisfied are you with your experience today? *
    3. (If you chose ‘service’ above)

      Feedback on government services, departments and staff

      Please use our complaints and compliments form.