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Published On: 24 May 2019

introducing our Refund Reverse Vending Machine - the first commercial in queensland!


Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary has taken another positive step in strengthening it’s commitment to the environment by partnering with TOMRA and installing Queensland’s first commercial container refund scheme reverse vending machine.

Part of the Containers for Change deposit initiative, a program that spearheads the collection and recycling of drinking containers, we recently had the opportunity to chat with Retail Operations Manager and Chair of the Sustainability and Innovation Committee here at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Fabrice Miller to learn more.


Obvious question first Fabrice - who is TOMRA?

TOMRA is one of the network operators for the Containers For Change deposit scheme in Queensland and provides South East Queensland with reverse vending machines supported by the technology to accept returned containers. Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary will now have bulk collection ability and be able to offer our local community a convenient drop off point outside the Currumbin Cafe for their waste containers.​​​​​


why did you decide to get involved in being a partner for this program?

As an organisation we are passionate wildlife advocates here at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. We also see first hand the impact waste and litter has on our local environment and the unique Australian wildlife that call it home, both on the land and in the ocean. It was a natural choice to be part of the change, helping to eliminate waste from what we both share as our homes.


What kind of containers can be dropped in for recycling and how much is the refund?

Eligible drinking containers can be plastic, glass, aluminium, steel or liquid paperboard and be between 150 millilitres and three litres to attract a .10c refund for every container. Most containers have the recycled approved logo on them, so have a look for the .10c on the side that identifies them easily.


How will Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary benefit from being a container collection point?

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a not for profit organisation, and we rely on public donations to fund the works we do here. Having the ability to collect containers means we can also offer thelocal community the option to donate the revenue from their container collections directly to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

How will the donations be allocated?

Donations will mean we can engage in further on-site environmental projects that involve local communities and other organisations collaboratively and also, contribute to the valuable work we do here at the Sanctuary.


Is Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary the only place where locals can drop off their containers and donate their refunds directly to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital?

There is another TOMRA collection point at Varsity lakes where the local community can also nominate Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to receive their donations (From Monday 6th May until Sunday 4th August 2019). In addition, we can take bulk deliveries here at the Sanctuary, but do ask if members of the community has a larger load of containers, to phone ahead to let us know so we can accomodate. Best number is Fabrice directly on 0755340845.

How do you think being a part of this scheme will directly help our native wildlife?

The commitment to forging ongoing initiatives in turn will have a positive impact on our local environment and as part of a larger global view - our planet as a whole. By limiting the waste left in the environment that could end up as litter or landfill, we also reduce the impact these materials are having by making its way into our wildlife’s diet, homes and ocean.


So why is it only containers we can drop in for recycling?

Containers are a re-useable product that the vending machine can process with reduced contamination from other sources that you might otherwise found mixed in to general waste. This
means materials can be used again and again to produce new containers, which in turn reduces the overall footprint of the recycling process further than down-cycling.


How many containers are we seeing being dropped in already?

So far, we have had over 500 containers processed, which is a great start and we are hoping as news spreads further about our vending machine so we can quickly increase these numbers and hopefully inspire more local donations too.


More about the Program

The Containers for Change program officially launched on 1st November 2018 and as at the 23rd of April 2019, there have been more than 340 Million containers returned by Queensland recyclers. With approximately three billion beverage containers generated per annum, drink containers are recorded as the second most littered item currently found in the environment. By reducing the prevalence of these items, we are finding solutions to not only counter waste, but also promote a healthier and safer environment for our community, animals and marine life too.

To learn more about TOMRA - go to
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