After many years waiting, West Australia will finally get a container deposit scheme meaning you will be able to exchange empty containers for cold, hard cash.
When will it launch?
The Containers for Change program will launch in WA on October 1st 2020. Containers purchased or collected prior to this date will be ineligible for a refund.
Who can use the scheme to earn cash? Anyone from individuals to schools and charities can use the scheme to raise funds.
How much money can you make? All eligible containers are valued at 10-cents each.
image sourced Containers for Change
What type of containers can I exchange? Most containers made from glass, plastic, steel, aluminium and liquid paperboard between 150ml and 3L will be eligible for a refund. This includes things like beer bottles, plastic water bottles, soda cans, juice boxes and flavoured milk cartons.
Containers which are not included in the scheme are plain milk and cordial containers, bottles containing wine or pure spirits, containers over 1 litre that had pure fruit/vegetable juice or flavoured milks. These items can still be recycled through the normal yellow kerbside recycling bins.
The scheme is limited primarily to those containers which are most commonly discarded as litter.
The containers must have the refund mark. Many will already have them as container schemes have been operating in South Australia and the Northern Territory for years, however, local producers have two years to display the mark on their products.
Finally, the containers must be empty and the lids must be removed. If you are going to deposit your containers in a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) they cannot be broken or crushed.
Why have they started this program?
There are many benefits to a container deposit program – primarily it is designed to reduce the number of items going to landfill or being littered on beaches and in public spaces. It also increases recycling and interest in sustainable practices and gives schools and charities a great opportunity to fundraise.
Where can I go to collect my refund?
There are four ways to obtain a refund.
1. Visit a Reverse Vending Machine where you scan the barcode of the eligible container and the machine keeps the container. Please note that most RVMs do not pay out cash but typically offer a voucher system for a local retailer such as a supermarket. Alternatively, you can forgo your refund and direct it to a registered charity or community group.
2. Over the counter depots will accept your containers and refund immediately either in cash or electronic funds transfer (or you can donate your refund to a registered charity).
3. Drop off locations allow you to leave your eligible containers (bagged appropriately and tagged with your ID) and you don't need to wait for them to be counted.
4. Mobile drop-off points that will operate from special events and functions.
There will a minimum of 172 refund points when the scheme starts and 229 by the end of the first year, including remote and rural WA. Check the website for locations of Refund Points near you.
How do I start a container deposit fundraiser for my school or community group?
First you will need to sign up for a Scheme ID by visiting the site here.
You need to decide if you are going to physically collect the containers and return them yourself for the refund, or if you are going to ask your community to return the containers and then donate their refund to your group. The first option is more work and requires space to store the containers as well as volunteers to take them to a refund point, but you are likely to raise more funds.
If you choose the first option, you will need to designate a space in your school or community for a large cage or bins where people can deposit their containers. Alternatively, you might want to designate one day each month for people to drop off their containers.
A sporting club might choose to hire a large cage trailer once a month for players to drop off their containers. A school fete might ask visitors to donate five eligible containers to gain entry to the event.
You can also provide your charity ID to your community and ask them to drop their own containers off to a RVM and the refund will be credited to your community group.
As with all passive fundraising options, reminding your community constantly is essential for its success. Don't limit yourself to your own members but promote your physical drop off point (or Scheme ID for virtual donations) to the wider community so they can help as well.