Boomerang Alliance

  • Send a letter to the editor on plastic bags

    As part of our campaign and to help increase political pressure we are asking you to write a letter to a newspaper editor of your choice.


    Please express your concerns about the dangers of single use plastic bags. By spreading our message and adding a personal touch - you will make a difference!

    If you have not written a letter to the editor before -  here's a few helpful hints to get you started:

    > Look up published Letters to the Editor in your chosen newspaper. This is a fantastic way to gauge the writing styles that appeal to that paper's editor.

    > You should also check to see if the newspaper has guidelines for length and other various aspects.

    > Use a personal story or illustration to explain why NSW, VIC and WA should ban the bag.

    For more information and helpful hints on how to write a letter to the editor, head here. Let us know if your letter has been published and we will share it on social media.

    It’s time to take action. NSW, VIC and WA need to adopt this positive protection measure and save countless marine animals!


  • QUEENSLAND’S CONTAINER REFUND SCHEME Launched 1st November 2018.  FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO GET INVOLVED, PLEASE CONTACT COEX (Container Exchange) on 13 42 42 or visit

    On September 5th 2017, we welcomed the unanimous passage of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill through the Queensland Parliament, which confirmed a Container Refund Scheme (CRS) for Queensland.

    This policy represents the most significant litter and plastic pollution measures introduced into Queensland in generations. It's a great leap forward for litter reduction, recycling and collection (and the jobs that go with this) and for community organisations who can make money from collecting bottles and cans.

    Under the Container Refund Scheme, eligible beverage containers are worth 10c each. This presents a significant opportunity for community groups to raise additional funds through the collection and return of containers

    The Queensland Scheme is called 'Containers for Change' and is operated by Container Exchange, a not-for-profit entity set up by the Qld State Government. 

    You can learn more about how the scheme works, find where you can redeem containers and which containers are eligible, and how you can get involved at the Containers for Change website.


    What Exactly is a Container Refund Scheme?

    A Container Refund Scheme involves the payment of a refund (10 cents) for the return of every eligible beverage container to a recognised redemption point. In other words, people get cash for recycling their containers. There are over 40 such systems around the world including in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

    South Australia has had a container refund scheme since 1975, according to the CSIRO Marine Debris Report 2014, the amount of beverage container litter in South Australia is less than the amount of container litter in Queensland 'by a factor of three.’ In Queensland most beverage containers, despite kerbside collections, are wasted in landfill. In SA, container recycling rates are above 80%. In more modern schemes, such as Germany, container collection rates are close to 100%.

    The primary objectives of a Container Refund Scheme should be to:

    • Significantly reduce litter from beverage containers
    • Increase recycling of containers
    • Grow community benefits by providing income to charities; encouraging social enterprises and new jobs and regional business opportunities


    Boomerang Alliance's Position on the Container Refund Scheme

    With over 40 such systems around the world producing huge benefits, the Container Refund Scheme is clearly a good move for Queensland. As long as a World's Best Practice Scheme is introduced, and in combination with the plastic bag ban, we expect litter and plastic pollution could be halved. Our position on a World's Best Practice Scheme includes:

    • All glass, plastic and aluminium beverage containers between 150ml and 3 litres capacity (with the exception of milk, fruit juice and health tonics) will attract a 10 cent refund, when returned to an approved collection point. Wine bottles, currently exempted should be included.
    • We believe that a 10 cent refund will provide the right incentive to encourage container return. If this proves insufficient we urge that the deposit amount should be increased. A refund should be paid according to the preference of the depositor. This could be cash, voucher or direct credit. A voucher (redeemable at a local shop) is our preferred option to encourage the establishment of convenient collection points (Reverse Vending Machines) at shopping centres.
    • We believe in convenient and accessible collection infrastructure. That means the public (and all communities) should have reasonable opportunity to return containers at convenient locations such as shopping centres, other retail places as well as private, council or community-run collection depots. We believe that retailers should have an obligation to provide collection points, as they are required to do at most successful schemes in other parts of the world.
    • The scheme, as proposed, is complementary to current Council kerbside collection services, we support local councils and community organisation having fair access to container refunds and/or handling fees from containers they have collected. We support local business interested in collection to have similar access.
    • In addition to any CRS logo or marking, for ease of operation and efficient refund return we believe that a barcode marking should be mandatory on each eligible container and used to identify and verify a refund. This would prevent fraud and allow remote and community-run collectors to fully and equitably participate in the scheme.
    • We believe that an independent, not-for-profit organisation should coordinate the scheme to ensure an equitable approach for all, accountability and public disclosure on the performance of the scheme. As the provider of containers we believe that the beverage industry should be responsible for covering the costs of the scheme.
    • We believe that the scheme should be regularly reviewed to ensure it is meeting performance targets. Targets for collection and for numbers of containers recycled should be set so that the scheme achieves collection and recycling goals, consistent with the world's best schemes, within 5 years.


    Check out our resources on plastic pollution

  • published Queensland redirect in Cash For Containers 2017-02-28 12:38:34 +1100

  • signed cds vic 2017-02-21 13:30:21 +1100

    Ask the Victorian Government to adopt a world class container deposit scheme

    Victoria is the ONLY state that has yet to commit to a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). Every other state either has a scheme or will get one soon. We are missing out on an estimate $50 million a year in fundraising to community groups and charities.


    The Boomerang Alliance has joined forces with Victorian community organisations and groups to push for action. The Victorian government originally was defending inaction on CDS with questionable statistics on litter and recycling rates. We took actions to dispel myths, raise awareness and presented the true cost of inaction. The feedback we get from the community is that of overwhelming support for a CDS. Yet, the Victorian government remains recalcitrant, saying they are "monitoring and evaluating" how schemes progress in other states.

    Newsflash: It's going really well! NSWs 'Earn and Return' collected 2 billion containers in 19 months and increased recycling rates from 35% to over 65% (June 2019). QLDs 'Containers For Change' has collected over 620 million containers in 8 months. Hundreds of jobs have been created and hundreds of charities are benefiting.

    We want Victoria to become active NOW and commit to a container deposit scheme, harmonised with other states!


    • Sign this petition to Lily D'Ambrosio asking for a CDS

    • Sign up to our campaign and join us in clean-ups, media stunts and other actions

    • Donate to our campaign


    A container deposit scheme is based on a refundable deposit able to be redeemed by the consumer or collectors at convenient locations. In other words, people get cash for recycling their containers. There are over 40 such systems around the world including in South Australia, the Northern Territory, the ACT, NSW and Queensland. WA and Tasmania are planning to follow suit in 2020 and 2022, respectively. Victoria needs to commit NOW!



    4,852 signatures

    Dear Ms D'Ambrosio,

    I support the introduction of a 10 cents refundable deposit on bottles and cans in VICTORIA. Newspolls results (conducted in June 2018) show that I am not alone – 84% of Victorians agree.

    Victoria is now the LAST state to commit to a container deposit scheme. Cash for Containers has led to a significant increase in recycling rates in all states that it's been implemented in. NSW report an increase from 35% to over 65% (June 2018, EPA NSW). The scheme is also going well in NT, the ACT and QLD. And of course, SA has had it for decades. Why are we the only state left out?

    The Senate Inquiry into Marine Plastic Pollution recommended State Governments introduce a Container Deposit System by 2020 or Federal action may be warranted. According to the National Litter Index, two thirds of plastic litter volume in Victoria is drink container litter - why are you waiting to introduce a scheme that you know is proven to reduce litter rates? 

    I support a modern, efficient, convenient and low-cost container deposit system. The social and economic benefits include more jobs in resource recovery and a new source of income for charities. The SA scouts report $15 million a year of income from CDS - why are Victorian charities and community groups still missing out?

    CDS can also help with the recycling crisis, as it produces reliable streams of sorted, uncontaminated materials that are of higher value and can underpin a local recycling industry. That's why the vast majority of councils support the call for a CDS, including their representative bodies, the MAV and LGVA. When will you answer that call?

    I call on you to introduce a 10 cents refundable deposit on bottles and cans in VICTORIA – to reduce the litter and increase the recycling of beverage containers.

    Yours sincerely,

    Add signature

  • donated 2016-11-08 20:05:52 +1100

    Historic opportunity to ban plastic bags!

    $20,995.00 raised
    GOAL: $22,000.00

    Did you know that 52% of the world's sea turtles have ingested plastic or other human rubbish? Last year, the Australian Senate Inquiry into marine plastic pollution warned of a ‘looming health crisis’ from eating seafood and ingesting the bioaccumulation of plastic and adhered toxic chemicals. This has to stop!

    At the end of June, the environment ministers will be coming together for their regular meeting. We want their main focus to be a ban on lightweight single use plastic bags throughout Australia. In order for this to happen, we need to urgently mobilise and support our 50 allied plastic bag-free groups.


    Please chip in today to help us win, it would save countless turtles, whales, birds and other marine life from harm.

    Every donation $2 and over is tax deductible.

    Please contact our donations administrator Jenn ( / 02 9211 5022) for alternative methods of donating.

    N.B.: Boomerang Alliance and its donations are managed by Total Environment Centre (a DGR1 endorsed charity). ACNC-Registered-Charity-Tick.png




















  • published coles woolies action in Latest 2016-10-04 12:15:21 +1100

    Don't let Coles and Woolies rob you!

    Are Coles and Woolworths the new opponents of what the community wants? These major supermarkets are refusing to join Cash for Containers by not providing space within their carparks to allow for consumer refunds. Just when we thought the fight was finally over!












    Read more

  • published plastic pollution sign up 2016-07-14 14:47:02 +1000

  • published plastic 2016-07-14 14:41:33 +1000

  • published Nurdles 2016-07-01 20:09:04 +1000


    By Dave West


    Nurdles are pre-production microplastic pellets that are used to make plastic products (they are melted into the moulds for the particular product). Nurdles typically enter the environment by escaping the boundaries of the plastic extruder or recycler factories and are washed into waterways via the nearest stormwater drain, or are lost during transport. This is an offence in every state in Australia, however it has not come to the attention of regulators and may be currently seen as difficult to enforce. However we do not accept this position.

    In Australia we use some 1.5-1.7million tonnes of pellets and flake (the equivalent material when sourced from recycling) each year.

    Over several years, Tangaroa Blue carried out a number of studies concerning the prevalence of nurdles along our beaches and coasts. It undertook sampling across 41 broad geographical locations including river systems in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide and found concentrations as high as 6,000 nurdles per square metre of beach. Boomerang Alliance’s sampling across hundreds of locations are showing that, on average, there are some 60,000 pieces of microplastic found along each kilometre of coastline – without question nurdles are the most common microplastic we find.

    Many reasons exist to explain the abundance of pellets in the environment, including unsound practices within factories in regard to cleaning spill-over, but more important is perhaps the lack of mitigation methods that are designed to prevent such incursion to the environment from the factory floor. Factories hose their buildings and workshop floors down at night, resulting in pellets washing into drains — a documented practice at several major factories in our cities.

    Filtration systems on stormwater drains are unable to capture nurdles, so once they are in gutters or drainage areas, they are easily washed into stormwater outlets, resulting in entry to the river systems. Further, when transporting the resin pellets, hopper cars and trucks are not required to have lids on containers of pellets.

    Closely resembling fish eggs, nurdles are commonly ingested by sea life. There is growing concern that sea life ingesting microbeads creates significant potential for microbeads to pass them through the food chain and onto our dinner plates.

    In water environments like the ocean, nurdles and other microplastics have been found to attract other oily chemicals floating about. This was first measured in 2001 by Japanese researchers who found that the plastic production pellets collected from coastal Japanese waters had accumulated toxins at concentrations up to a million times that found in the surrounding seawater.

    Boomerang Alliance ally, Tangaroa Blue is the leading voice on working with the plastics industry to develop suitable mechanisms and procedures to ensure they stop polluting our waterways with nurdles. Tangaroa operate the Australian arm of the global Operation Clean Sweep Campaign.

    It is already an offence in all Australian states for manufacturing facilities to be allowed to escape their control yet, to date, we have found no instance where our environmental regulators have issued a fine of penalty. Simple inspection and enforcement including mandating pollution reduction plans can do much to eliminate this threat.









  • published Microbeads 2016-07-01 20:08:24 +1000




    They’re tiny plastic microspheres measuring approximately the same size as a single human hair. So how does a pollutant barely visible to the naked eye present the greatest direct threat to the eco-welfare of oceans and marine wildlife?




    Microbeads at 50 times zoom

    Added to an enormous range of personal care [body wash, toothpaste, face scrub] and household cleaning products [detergents, waxes, and polishes], microbeads are used as the go-to artificial exfoliant, a durable substitute for previously used natural abrasive materials like sea salt, ground pumice and oatmeal.

    Plus they’re also used in health science research, microscopy techniques, fluid visualization and fluid flow analysis, and process troubleshooting.

    Generally made from polyethylene (but can be also be made of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon), microbeads are commercially available in particle sizes from 10 µm to 1000 µm (1mm) in diameter. To give perspective on how small these microbeads are - a human hair is around 18 µm in diameter.

    Making them virtually impossible to prevent washing down the plughole, through filtration systems in waste water treatment plants and facilities and passing freely into our waterways, coastline and oceans.

    Like all plastics, micro and nano scale plastics have significant potential to act as a toxic sponge – sucking up organic pollutants and heavy metals to become a major vector for distributing toxic materials across the environment and importantly into our food chain. Which is why micro and nanoplastics are seen to be a more direct threat than plastics generally as they are easily mistaken for fish eggs, zooplankton and other sources of marine food, creating significant potential to pass through the food chain and onto our dinner plates.

    Which is why microscopic plastic poses not only a catastrophic threat to ocean health - but to ours as well. 

    While virtually impossible to measure accurately the extent of the problem in Australian waters, a single tube of deep facial cleanser can contain 350,000 microbeads, demonstrating that the level of microbead pollution is substantial. Based on international estimates it is likely around 650 tonnes of microbeads enter Australia’s marine ecosystems annually. 



    Based on their pervasiveness and size, microbeads are near impossible to remove from the natural environment, especially water.

    As a result of high profile campaigns across the globe, nations including the US, UK, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Taiwan and New Zealand have or plan to introduce various legislation prohibiting the manufacture and distribution of microbeads. Australia is yet to implement any such federal or state measure leaving us vulnerable to potentially becoming a dumping ground for surplus products.

    In December 2015, former Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced that state and territory governments had agreed to a voluntary phase-out of microbeads in cosmetics by July 1, 2018. In January 2016, Coles and Woolworth’s both announced they would stop using microbeads in their own products from 2017, while global companies including Unilever, Beiersdorf​, Johnson & Johnson and The Body Shop have already commenced the phase-out.

    To date, 93 per cent of companies distributing and manufacturing in Australia have complied with the phase out. Leaving the remaining 7 per cent failing to move on the environmental issue and continue to pump microbeads into the biosphere.

    A federal ban is the only way to safeguard Australian waters

    While useful results have been achieved by the industry voluntary-microbeads plan, it leaves a loophole for continued use of plastic microbead product on the Australian market by those who have failed to participate in the voluntary phase out or through a future reversal of thephase out by manufacturers; including the prospect of dumping by producers locked out of other markets by legislated bans. Australia must have a nationally legislated ban on plastic microbeads including so-calledbiodegradeable plastic microbeads. 











  • wants to volunteer 2016-10-21 10:54:36 +1100


    People just like you have built the Boomerang Alliance into a powerful force for change.

    No matter what your skills we can use them to stop the tide of litter threatening our ecosystems.

    Whether you help out in the office, on the street, at community events or from your own home, your efforts will make the difference that could save the environment for future generations to enjoy.

    Become a volunteer

  • commented on APC Recycling Black Hole 2015-07-09 14:10:26 +1000
    We would love it too and it really works! South Australia enjoys a recycling rate of cans and bottles of between 75-85% while the rate in other states is less than half of this.

  • published Example CDS letter NSW 2015-07-01 14:48:02 +1000

    Example of a letter for the Premier of NSW



    You can contact Mike Baird by email or send him a letter.


    The Hon. Mike Baird, MP

    Premier of NSW

    GPO Box 5341

    SYDNEY NSW 2001



    Dear Premier Baird,

    Your announcement that the NSW government would introduce a Container Deposit System (CDS) in NSW in July 2017, is most welcome. For too long we have had the problem of littered drink containers in our streets, parks and ocean; as well as wasted resources.

    I am concerned however to hear that the beverage industry is trying to replace a CDS with a plan that will only target a small amount of the bottles and cans that are currently not recycled.

    It is critical that the NSW Container Deposit System is comprehensive and nothing short of a genuine world best practise system. This would mean that the vast majority of the drink containers are recycled. It would also create many significant opportunities for charities, schools and local sporting groups to earn much needed income. It’s a far better system than that being proposed by the beverage industry.

    Our environment and community deserve this.

    Please tell me you will give NSW an effective Container Deposit System.

    Yours sincerely,



    Address (including postcode)


    To print this letter, click here.

  • published Example CDS letter QLD 2015-06-29 11:34:20 +1000

    Example of a letter for the QLD Env Minister


    The Hon Steven Miles, MP

    Minister for the Environment

    GPO Box 2454



    Dear Mr Miles,

    Now that the state government has agreed to investigate container deposits for cans and bottles and look at restricting plastic bags, I am writing to let you know that I support the introduction of a 10c refundable deposit on bottles and cans to clean up litter and increase recycling in Queensland.  The sooner the better!

    Queensland is the most littered mainland state in Australia and bottles and cans are a huge part of the problem.

    NSW Premier Baird is implementing this scheme because it works.  Supported by 86% of Queenslanders (Newspoll Feb 2015), it has successfully operated in South Australia for nearly 40 years; and has made huge increases in the recycling rate in the Northern Territory in its first three years. 

    It will greatly increase recycling of bottles and cans in Queensland and make a big dent in the litter polluting our beautiful coastline, bush trails, waterways, streets and public places, and harming wildlife.

    I support a modern, efficient, convenient and low-cost container deposit system.  I want Queensland to be part of a harmonised east coast Container Deposit System.  The social and economic benefits include more jobs in resource recovery and a new source of income for charities.

    Please ask Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to act.



    Print Name:

    Address, including postcode:


    To print this letter, click here.