FINE EXAMPLE: Riley Hodgson, 10, won the Young Enviro Hero Award at the first Ipswich Enviro Awards. The primary school student has collected, sorted and deposited more than 12,000 containers for recycling.
FINE EXAMPLE: Riley Hodgson, 10, won the Young Enviro Hero Award at the first Ipswich Enviro Awards. The primary school student has collected, sorted and deposited more than 12,000 containers for recycling. Cordell Richardson

Young environmental hero inspiring others to clean up act

AN IPSWICH boy is playing his part to not only protect the planet but support the city's homeless in the process, all while earning himself a bit of pocket money.

Camira youngster Riley Hodgson has collected, sorted and deposited more than 12,000 containers for recycling in about a year.

Now the 10-year-old is inspiring fellow students to join in and do their bit to clean up the environment, which he believes has "fallen into a ditch".

It started when Riley began gathering waste from building sites and parks in Springfield Lakes and Greater Springfield, supported by parents Steve and Tracey.

They then approached businesses that weren't recycling and offered to do it for them, working away after school and on weekends.

He's earned about $1500 so far, safely tucked away in a savings account, and used $300 to buy food and other goods for homelessness charity Goodna Street Life.

The Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School student was given the Young Enviro Hero Award at the 2019 Ipswich Enviro Awards.

"I just try and help the environment as best as I can," Riley said.

"I think the environment has fallen into a ditch and I don't want us to fall into a ditch. We're about to fall if we keep doing this."

Dad Steve said Riley had set up a cleaning group at his school and wanted to start a Facebook group to set up co-ordinated clean ups throughout the community.

"He's an active kid and he loves being outside... there's that connection to nature," he said.

"There's so many skills he's picked since then... it's a good commitment for him to do. When you're his age there's not much you can do to make money and he's encouraging other kids at school now.

"I know a lot of kids when (the Containers for Change scheme) came out said 'oh yeah we'll collect cans and bottles' and it never happened."

Containers for Change reaches new milstone

QUEENSLAND's Container Refund Scheme, Containers for Change, continues to exceed all expectations and is celebrating another major milestone this week, with 800 million containers returned in just 10 months.

Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said this milestone was reached while Parliament was sitting in Townsville.

"This means $80 million has been refunded to individuals and families, charities and community organisations," she said.

There are more than 300 operating container refund points across Queensland.

An average of about three million containers are being returned each day.

More than 199,000 Queenslander individuals, charities, schools and community organisations now have a registered scheme ID. The scheme has helped create more than 600 new jobs across Queensland.