Making change ten cents at a time from container refund scheme

CQ Containers supervisor Mikayla Ingram explains the container refund scheme.

The rattling of cans and tinkling of glass bottles may create a cacophony of sound but to the numerous container collectors across the region it’s the alluring sound of 10-cent pieces.

Collectors are arriving at the CQ Containers recycling facility with bags, boxes and buckets full of cashable containers and the numbers lodged every day are impressive.

Eighteen-year-old Mikayla Ingram, who started at the container recycling centre on November 1 last year, the first day the containers for change scheme came into effect, says anywhere between 30,000 and 50,000 containers per day are leaving the sorting facility.

Pointing to the large bins that accept anywhere between 3000 and 10,000 (crushed) cans and glass Mikayla says around eight of the bins containing cans and five of glass are regularly filled each day.

Bulk fertiliser bag full of containers

Midge and Oliver from the Goodnight Scrub area arrived with an impressive bulk fertiliser bag full of containers.

“We’ve been collecting for a while,” said Midge. “It’s a great initiative and allows people to get a few extra dollars and it's also cleaning up the region.

“That’s the point of it isn’t it?” said Midge.

Watching the large bag being spilled into the sorting trays ,Mikayla cast an experienced eye over the booty as it tumbled out. “There could be up to 8000 containers in that lot,” was her opinion.

The cash is in the bag! Midge and Oliver from Goodnight Scrub await their turn to have their bag of containers sorted for payment.

That represented a potential $800 for Midge and Oliver. However, it’s certainly not a get-rich quick scheme, with the cache being months in the gathering.

“We do have a collection service for some of the larger customer who can’t get into the facility regularly,” said Mikayla.

“The large bins we supply need to be filled on at least a fortnightly basis to warrant the service.”

CQ Containers, located in McLean Street, is one of three sites operated by Mary-Jane Vickers, with the Bundaberg operation employing around six workers.

The Cash for Containers scheme was launched by the State Government in November last year in response to litter from cans and bottles across the state.

More than three billion containers are utilised across Queensland each year and dumped containers are rated the second worst item of litter.

To date, the container refund scheme has seen almost 350 million eligible containers returned.

Full details of the scheme can be found online.

container refund scheme
Mikayla Ingram and her fellow workers are kept busy with the steady stream of containers arriving at CQ Containers on a daily basis.


  1. Where do we take cans and bottles to please? what address? unable to download map.

  2. This collection centre is on McLean Street near the corner of George Street in Bundaberg.

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