Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Containers for Change - everything you need to know

Queensland's Container refund scheme starts 1 November. It's great for the planet, for people and for community groups. Here's why.

Quick stats

3 billion containers are used in Queensland each year. They make up 23% of our waste. Even with kerbside recycling, the majority end up as litter or in landfill.

We recycle only about 30% of our containers. In South Australia (who've had a container deposit scheme for years) the rate is 80%.

Clearly a cash-for-containers scheme is a good idea. Queensland's will be called Containers for Change.


What's the deal?

From 1 November there will be 250 refund points (see the map) where you can receive 10 cents for every eligible container - including aluminium cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles and some drink cartons.



Reverse vending machines

Some refund points will be reverse vending machines - like the demo one I showed earlier (see the video). These are literally what they sound like - you give a container and get money. Each container has its barcode scanned. If the barcode matches an eligible container you get paid.

Depots and drop off points

There will also be places you can take containers to and drop them off. The advantage of these (other than not having to feeding all your containers into a machine) is that even if the aluminium cans are squashed, and the barcode isn't readable, they are still accepted.

How does it work for community groups?

After litter reduction and more recycling, the third aim of the scheme is to help community groups. People can donate their containers to the local sports club, scouts, church or school - and that organisation can receive the refund.

This can be done by physically donating the container or by a virtual donation. Either way, the first step for a community group is to register and get an ID number (this is how you get paid).

Virtual donations

Publicise your ID number through your community group. When your members return their containers they can quote the community group's ID number and the refund is paid to the community group's bank account.

Physical donations

In this case people donate the actual containers at your scout hall, soccer club or church hall. Somebody from the group can return them in bulk to a refund point. Again, they quote the community group's ID number and the refund goes to the group's bank account.

At my local school they've got small wheelie-bins bins ready to go. (You can get the logos and everything when you join).


The logistics of this depend on how big your operation will be. Many refund points will be able to give you a large bag for collecting your containers, and a tag with your group's ID. If you're thinking bigger than that you may want to get a lockable cage where people can drop off containers any time of the day.

If your group is having a big event, it may be a good idea to contact your local refund point in advance and they may be able to help.

So what are the next steps?

Once you community group decides to do this, go online and register and promote you group's ID to your members.

Then, if you want to do physical collection, get in touch with you local refund point.

Any questions, just pop them in the comments below.

Happy recycling and happy fundraising.

PS. This information is based on the seminar by ContainerExchange - the organisation running the scheme. For further details go to Containers for Change or to ContainerExchange.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Do bad governments hide bad news?

If there's anything worse than a government failing to cut pollution, it's a government covering up the failure.

how the Australian governmnet hides emissions data

People in the media have noticed a pattern in the way Australia's government releases the national emissions data.

It's very slow and it seems to be released at a time when it will get little attention. Mostly it's late on a Friday afternoon - too late for the news bulletin. Or just before the biggest sports weekend of the year.

One year they even did it on Christmas Eve.

Why is it so?

Paul Barry reckons it's deliberate. To avoid the government getting awkward questions about why emissions increasing when urgent reductions are needed. Questions like how on Earth Australia can even reach our (rather weak) goal of 26% less pollution by 2030 while pollution is rising.

The government says that ministers "considers briefs for a period of time". But for those periods of time to always end late friday - or on Christmas Eve is a staggering coincidence.

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

What Aussies think about climate change

This year's Climate of the Nation survey (a great name for people's opinions around climate change) has some very interesting - and some surprising results.

Lots of concern

When asked if they we concerned about climate change and its impact of drought, the Great Barrier Reef and bushfires around three-quarters said yes.

ARe Australians concerned about climate change and its impacts

Fewer deniers

At the other end of the scale there's a shrinking number of people do don't even agree the climate change is happening. The vast majority of Aussies accept that it is happening. The results are shown by which party the people vote for.

How many Aussies still don't accept climate science

Even for parties that have non-scientific views, their supporters seem to be accepting the climate science.

Favourite power

People were asked their 3 favourite energy sources. The top 3 were all renewable resources and solar was the clear favourite.

What are Austrlia's favourite energy sources

What to do about coal?

49% say we should stop building any new coal mines or expanding any existing ones. Only 20% disagree with this view.

How quickly should coal go?

About two-thirds of Aussies think we should stop using coal with 20 years. More than a third reckon it should be within 10 years.

How quickly should we stop using coal?

Coal industry less important than we think

Aussies were asked how many people coal employs. Those who answered overestimated by a factor of more than 25. The jobs in coal are 25 times smaller than we think.

The same goes for money. When asked how much coal contributes to Australia's GDP, people's average estimate was 10.9%. It's not even a tenth of that. The true answer is just one percent.

While the coal industry makes some noise, the reality is that it's just not worth as much as we may think.

Who should pay the bill?

59% of people support a levy on fossil fuel exports to help the community prepare and protect from the consequences of climate change. Only 19%
oppose this idea.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this idea is even more popular among younger people - those expected to have to live with the consequences for longer.

Overall it's good news that Australians want to take action on climate change. Hopefully politicians can reflect this desire in their actions.

PS. You can download the full Climate of the Nation 2018.

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