Container Refund Scheme

On 1 November 2018, a statewide container refund scheme came into effect. The scheme gives people an incentive to collect and return containers for recycling, in exchange for a 10 cent refund payment.

Containers for Change is a Queensland Government scheme that places a 10 cent deposit on drink containers (150ml to three litres). That deposit is redeemable at a container refund point. 

The scheme is a litter reduction measure to remove drink containers from the litter stream. It is also a potential source of revenue for residents and community groups. 

The scheme is very similar to that which has been in place in South Australia for many years.

Where to drop off containers

Council’s resource recovery centres are not equipped to provide refunds for containers although residents may still deposit them there for recycling.

A list of the proposed refund collection points is available on the Containers for Change website.

Residents can continue to place their drink containers in their recycling bin at home. Residents can also place their drink containers in the recycling bins at the resource recovery centres. Council will use any refunds collected to offset the cost of providing the city’s waste services.

Collecting containers

Council encourages litter prevention in Brisbane to keep our city clean, green and sustainable. There are community programs that encourage residents to pick-up litter in their communities to keep it out of our waterways, streets and bushlands.

Find out more about Council’s litter prevention programs.

For health and safety reasons, people should not go through bins to take items out of the bins. This is regardless of whether the wheelie bins out on the kerb for pick-up or public bins.


Brisbane City Council’s Health, Safety and Amenity Local Law 2009 (the Local Law) prohibits a person, from removing or disturbing the cover of a wheelie bin on a residential or commercial premise unless placing waste in the bin or container.  For example, a person may not enter a designated waste area in a visitor’s carpark to collect, remove or otherwise interfere with the wheelie bin without the permission of the owner.  If a complaint is received by Council, an assessment of the activity will be undertaken to determine the appropriate compliance response.

Complaints regarding the interference of wheelie bins placed out during kerbside collection may be investigated if a littering offence under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 is occurring or has occurred. Council investigates littering offences where adequate evidence is provided about the alleged offender/s and may issue an on-the-spot fine. If the interference occurs while the bin is on public land, the requirements of the Local Law do not apply.

Residents participating in the container refund scheme should also be aware of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 when collecting eligible containers ensuring that waste is disposed of responsibly.

Lodging a complaint

You can lodge a complaint to Council about a person interfering with a wheelie bin at a residential or commercial premise or if the activity is causing a littering or illegal dumping offence.

Last updated: 7 May 2019
Topics: waste

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.