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Containers for Change

Home > Brisbane > Unusual Things to do | Fun Things To Do | Fun for Children | Environment
by Gillian Ching (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane who loves exploring quirky places with my dog. Join me on my quest to find, experience, and share fun things to do and interesting places to go.
Published January 4th 2019
Be part of the change to help the environment
A Bundle of Bottles

The Christmas and holiday season brought with it festive food, drinks and fun gatherings with family and friends. But after finishing my clean up and taking down the decorations, I found a huge pile of empty glass and plastic containers accumulating beside the kitchen.

So, rather than leave them out for the weekly garbage collection, I decided to round them up and take them to one of the recycling collection depots around the city. With a 10 cent refund available on selected items, suddenly they took on a new meaning - going from mess to money.

It's all part of the Change for Containers program introduced by the Queensland government in November 2018

After checking online, I discovered that my nearest depot was located at the Salvation Army Centre in Glenrosa Road at Red Hill. Very convenient. With bottles bagged and packed safely in the car, I set off on my recycling adventure. Here's what I found.

Set up an online account
Before leaving home, I went online and registered an account. It was very easy and offered the option for refunded money to be deposited into my account or to donate to a selected charity. Check out more at

At the depot

When it arrived at the depot, I proudly stepped up to one of the chest high sorting benches with my bag of bottles and grabbed a black tray to assemble and separate the bottles from the plastics. I felt pretty chuffed, but my collection was outshone by a group of the neighbours' kids, who brought several impressive boxes full of bottles.

Remember to remove the lids from the containers. Unfortunately, they are made from a different plastic from the bottles and can't be recycled.

The entrance to the depot

Once you have filled your tray, simply take it up to the counter and hand it to one of the assistants. They will verify the contents and finalise your refund. Then the excitement comes when they call out your refund amount.

If you don't want to place the refund into your account or donate to charity, you simply receive the amount in cash. It's as simple as that. Okay, so you are not likely to be able to escape to the Carribean on holiday with your refund, but you are likely to get a warm glow from doing something positive for the planet, helping a worthy charity or receiving get some pocket money for your efforts.

There are signs to help

Australia's waste statistics

The WWF estimates on average that Australians produce 3 million tonnes of plastic each year but recycle only about 12%

After finishing your recycling you might also like to try and snap up a bargain next door at the Salvation Army store with funds raised going towards providing support services and programs for those in need.

Overall, the Containers for Change experience was simple, fun and fulfilling. I left feeling like I was making a contribution to the environment in my own small way and that's got to be good.
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Why? Recycling to support the enviornment
When: From 9am Monday to Saturday
Where: Glenrosa Road, Red Hill
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Recycling is great. I went to the Capalaba Recyclers last Friday. They are different in that you stay in your car and assistants come to you. It was an education to watch the comings and goings as it was very busy that day with a 45 minute wait but totally worth it with experience I received from just being an onlooker. I didn't have to take the tops off my bottles; I guess they are all different depending on the place you visit.
Thanks for the article
Susan Bowes
by Susan J Bowes (score: 3|1365) 279 days ago
We've been doing this in SA for years and years, and we don't have to sort them. It's great, and about time, the rest of Oz is doing it. SO much less litter.
by Michael Genrich (score: 3|1546) 280 days ago
My little neighbour does it and it earns me a very respectable amount of pocket money with us helping. Its a good idea and well worth it. I just wished the Salvation Army had asked the neighbours about their plans before putting them in place. There have been some marked consequences to the neighbourhood as a result of this project. Marina
by Marina Marangos (score: 2|728) 275 days ago
Andree - We did our first small deposit at the Geebung site in North Brisbane. We are collecting funds for a family needing assistance get school items to start their disabled son for his first year in school. We received a voucher to take to Woolworths to obtain cash refund. I noted the bottles where the labels have shifted or beginning to peel off would not go through the machine (our bottles were lying in an esky in icy water so the labels were coming off). That won’t stop me.
by andre (score: 0|2) 273 days ago
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