CHOICE membership

RECYCLING : is it a farce in Australia?


It will take a group of people - I try not to hope for a replacement for someone like this, it just never seems to happen. Sad day indeed. Like any passing, I feel we need to celebrate how lucky we are that he was who he was, rather than mourn ‘the loss’, because the former feels like it pays him far more respect than the latter …


As it is less than 3 days until the Qld Container Deposit Scheme commences, I thought I would find out just where the much touted “Reverse Vending Machines” were already installed and waiting in anticipation of the steady stream of customers.

Apparently, these fabulous innovations will not be in Cairns on 01.11.2018 but we will instead have the Qld Government’s leading-edge technology akin to the “rag and bone man” except he used to actually call to his customers’ homes thus saving them the trip.

You either take your containers to 1 of 3 depots to get an over-the-counter cash refund, or drop them off at 1 of 2 locations.

Thankfully, one of the 3 depots is a long standing local business owned and operated by a local resident who has operated an independent recycling business for decades, whom I would trust implicitly, having been both a supplier and a customer for as long as he has been in business.

For any Qld residents wanting to avoid prices rises after 31.01.2018, now is the time to shop.


I absolutely agree. I would love to recycle as instructed but the differences, especially in plastics is almost impossible to determine without reference to a huge list of alternatives! Who has the time? Also many cheap plastics have no discernable disposable advice! Of course, this mad rush to recycle correctly has been driven by the Chinese refusal to accept the massive amount of ‘rubbish’ they previously imported! Good for them and a total jungle of rules for us to navigate!


The government should have adopted this approach rather than the specialised container collection sites (which will be scattered around the countryside and require one to make special trips to).

Recently in our travels through Europe, we noticed that they have mostly adopted the reverse vending machine approach. Virtually all major supermarkets have a reverse vending machine where one can take containers for the refund of the deposit (there is a limitation that containers only available in that particular supermarket one can get credit for…but one can buy at a different supermarket and take it to another if the same product is sold).

The reverse vending machines give the customer a coupon which us used at the register as credit for the next purchase.

This option seems far simpler than that adopted in Queensland and requires little additional effort other than remembering to take empty containers when next doing a grocery shop.

It is also worth noting that alcohol is sold in supermarkets so there is no need for all businesses (e.g. bottle shops) to have the vending machines.

In Queensland, the reverse vending machines could have been placed in the car park of the supermarket/shopping centre ()only a few car parks would be needed) and the car parks rented using money from those containers collected by not returned.

Seems a easy solution, but one our government failed to see,


Victoria announced new rules for electronic / electrical waste. Government claims there will be improved access to recycling / disposal facilities to follow, and every Victorian will be within 20 minutes of one. The former is a good step and I’ll believe the latter when they factor in metro traffic to those 20 minutes.


At the Return and Earn machine today, I was amused at how much of the recycling was brought along in plastic bags - which, when emptied, went straight into nearby red-topped bins.


Having stored our aluminium cans and Corona bottles for several months, I took them to our local recycling agent yesterday.

An article in the local newspaper stated that they had processed around 35,000 containers last Friday so I waited to around 2:00 PM when I expected it would be less busy.

I was the only customer and the staff removed all the cartons out of our vehicle and very quickly counted them, before telling me to drive to the other end of the building where the office is.

The lady printed out a receipt and handed me $37.60 in cash.

I asked whether they receive a payment for providing the service or if they just kept the containers.

She said that they receive 6 cents per container but that the containers are all sent to our local Council’s recycling depot.

There were a couple of fancy new machines installed near the office, one of which had a large bin for the aluminium cans to be placed in prior to being tipped into a hopper, crushed, and placed in large containers ready for transport.


Got to the Return and Earn machine a little late yesterday, but still before 10am. It was full (not taking further materials for recycling). This reportedly happens repeatedy. The machine is one of two serving a population of about 50,000.

Could this be classified as a farce? Is it just politicians making sure they’re seen to be doing something?


Something’s not right here:

“Over the last two years we have paid close to $16 or $17 million in the waste levy and had barely 10 per cent of that back into the community for reuse programs,”