Success of Queensland container exchange reduces scheme price

April 20, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Queensland’s beverage manufacturing industry will gain some financial relief when Container Exchange (COEX) lowers the scheme price on containers of all material types later this year.

From 1 August 2021, the cost to beverage manufacturers will reduce on average by almost one cent per container sold across all material types in the Containers for Change scheme.

Queenslanders collected, returned and recycled 25% more containers through CRPs (Container Refund Points) in 2020 than they did in 2019, despite the impacts of COVID. This growth suggests that recycling containers is a growing habit for Queenslanders.

According to a Department of Environment and Science litter survey, beverage container litter in the Queensland environment has decreased by 54 per cent since the scheme began in November 2018, suggesting that the scheme has had a significant impact. It has also created 700 jobs with more than 3.5 billion containers collected, sorted and recycled in the three years since its launch.

There is a cost to recycling and litter reduction and with the increasing uptake by Queenslanders of the scheme, the operational costs for the program have also increased.

The price reduction to beverage manufacturers comes about in spite of this.  The most recent scheme price change came into effect in February this year and the unit price will be reduced by 0.9 cents per container when it takes effect in August.

Container Exchange is the not-for-profit organisation that administers the Containers for Change scheme. Its chief executive Ken Noye said the decision would return funds back to the beverage manufacturers and by providing the beverage industry with the appropriate notice, should have positive effects on prices for the Queensland customer.

“This current reduction will present beverage manufacturers with a price correction that will ultimately lower the cost of their products. The price reduction reflects the significantly higher than expected beverage sales volumes during the second half of 2020, which was built on over the traditionally-busy Christmas and New Year period,” said Mr Noye.

“The scheme price reduction is our way of returning funds back to the beverage manufacturers and provides the best opportunity for these cost changes to flow to the Queensland customer.”

While there is no contractual obligation for beverage manufacturers to pass on the saving to consumers but COEX suggests that “the lead time of nearly four months before the scheme price change allows [the beverage manufacturers] the opportunity to factor that into their cost and pricing structure for customers to see the flow on effect. 

The industry’s scheme contribution is critical to the operation, administration and governance of the Containers for Change scheme in Queensland, with all funds going toward the cost of collecting, sorting and recycling of more than 3.5 billion beverage containers.

This recycling effort has contributed to a 54% decrease in beverage container litter in the Queensland environment since the scheme began in November 2018.

COEX will provide a further update for any future scheme price changes in late 2021.

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