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Local Recycling Facility Forges Strong Community Partnerships

Story: Alyssa Mackay | Photo: Bruce Redman
Published On : Oct 25, 2023
Local Recycling Facility Forges Strong Community Partnerships
Cousins Michael Talbot and Nicholas Appleton have a shared goal to maximise the advantages of the Containers for Change scheme for the community they grew up in.

This led to the establishment of Sandgate Bottles and Cans Exchange in 2019, six months after the scheme’s introduction.

Nicholas said they were very much a local family-owned business with several family members and friends working for them.

“We were very excited when we were awarded the contract to build the Sandgate depot for Containers for Change as it’s an area we know very well and at the time we could see the benefit the scheme would bring to the local area,” Nicholas said.

The cousins designed and built their own container collection machines for the facility. In 2021, they won the Innovation Award for small/medium businesses at the Annual Change Maker Awards for Michael’s Container Counting Machine.

This year, they’ve been working closely with Containers for Change to launch the Waves for Change Program for schools and the Partners for Change program for community groups and businesses. These programs provide participants with bright green recycling bins, easy-to-read signage and a member number for payments.

Nicholas said they had signed 22 schools and over 35 businesses and community groups.

“One of our first and biggest collectors of eligible containers are the residents of The Village Taigum,” Nicholas said. “In the past three months, they have collected over 15,000 containers, or $1500, which all goes back to their community programs.”

Sandgate Bottles and Cans Exchange is also a finalist in the 2023 WasteSMART Brisbane People’s Choice Award. Michael said they were very excited the community had recognised their hard work and taken the time to nominate them.

“Since sharing that we are a finalist on Facebook, the community support has been amazing,” Michael said. “We know that there are some great businesses, community groups and charities nominated and we are just happy to be selected as a finalist.”

This month, the facility is spreading awareness about the expansion of the Containers for Change scheme. From 1 November, Queenslanders will get 10 cents for every glass wine and spirit bottle (150ml up to 3L).

The facility is rebranding to incorporate the wine and spirit bottles into its logo, so customers can easily identify the facility as a place to return their eligible containers. The revamped logo is green to match the new container collection bins.

For more information visit and

Sandgate Bottles and Cans Exchange
 81 Kempster Street