Qld container refund scheme ‘at risk of missing KPIs’

Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change, is under-performing and needs a design overhaul, says a national environmental group.

The Total Environment Centre (TEC) published a review of the scheme last month which claims the current rate of container return is about 40 percent (plus 14 percent from kerbside), well below the 85 percent target for 2021-22.

It found the Queensland scheme, which began operating in November 2018,  is more expensive than the NSW scheme and has an “unacceptably high” ratio of refund points to population (one refund point per 39,000 people in South-East Queensland, compared with one for every 12,000 in NSW and one for every 2500 in best performing European countries).

Moreover, the scheme’s coordinating body, Containers for Change (CoEX), has been criticised for its lack of transparency and accountability by the Queensland Productivity Commission, among others.

“In Queensland, the CoEX Board appears dominated by industry views with a key focus on costs that can distort decisions on convenience and number of refund points,” the report says.

The TEC report makes eight recommendations, including regular transparent reporting subject to an independent audit, an expansion to the scope of the scheme to include a wider range of beverage containers, and more refund points to be located at retail centres and supermarkets.