From the 1st of October, Western Australia will be implementing the Containers for Change Scheme to reduce litter and increase recycling across the State. Certain types of containers are considered eligible for recycling under the scheme. Eligible containers can be deposited and exchanged for a 10 cent refund from authorising locations. ‘Containers for Change’ aims to recover and recycle 65% of beverage containers within Western Australia by June 2021 (Change, 2020).
Why think about recycling?
It is estimated that 1.3 billion containers that are eligible for recycling through the Containers for Change Scheme are used in Western Australia each year. Sadly, 44 % of these containers make their way into our parks, streets and waterways (Australia, 2020). Paper, plastic, aluminium and glass that is not disposed of correctly presents a threat to wildlife and can cause serious environmental consequences that can persist for decades (M.O. Rodrigues, 2019).
Littering can have a serious direct and indirect impact on native plant and animals. In the dry-arid conditions of Western Australia, litter can be a major fire hazard. Paper and plastic are extremely flammable materials, while the glass is a common cause of bushfire ignitions (Schauble, 2006).
Litter generated can be consumed by land or marine animals which can cause death by entanglement, suffocation or choking.
Plastic which breaks down in the environment release small particles called micro-plastic, which have been proven to have a severe consequences on marine life. When ingested, micro-plastics release toxins that can cause physical and chemical changes in the organism such as growth and reproductive issues as well as inhibiting nutrient uptake. Micro-plastics can remain and accumulate in the organism until they are passed onto predatory animals or even consumed by humans (Meghdad Pirsaheb, 2020).
What containers are eligible for the ‘Containers for Change’ Scheme?
Not all containers are eligible, containers that can earn you cash are:
- Glass, plastic, aluminium, steel and paperboard containers between 150ml and 3L; or
- Any container which displays the 10 cent refund mark.
The following containers have been excluded:
- Those smaller than 150 ml or larger than 3 Litres;
- All milk containers, including flavoured milk;
- Containers 1L or larger which have contained flavoured milk, pure fruit or vegetable juice;
- Any glass that has carried wine or pure spirits;
- All sized fruit or vegetable juice and cask wine containers; and
- Any concentrated cordial or syrup containers.
To find out more about what can and can’t be returned, visit the Containers for Change website, enter the containers barcode and search the list of eligible containers.
How does the Scheme work?
Most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard drink containers can be collected and exchanged at one of the four different types of refund points across Western Australia. Once you’ve collected and returned your containers, you will be given a 10 cent refund for each eligible container, which you can either keep or donate directly to a charity or community group.
At the refund point, operators sort containers into material types before they are transported to be processed. The containers are then prepared for recycling at the processing facility before accredited recyclers purchase the processed materials which they transform into new containers and products (Change, 2020).
Types of Refund Points
There are four different types of refund points available in Western Australia. The refund point you choose may depend on the number of containers you have collected, and whether you would like to receive a refund or make a donation.
Earn a Refund or Donate
For each eligible container, you can receive a 10-cent refund which can be paid via electronic funds transfer (ETF) straight into your nominated bank account, or you can claim an immediate cash refund at any of the refund points and some pop-up points. For any individual or community group receiving a refund via EFT, you will be required to create a scheme ID.
Reverse vending machines and some pop-up refund points offer retail vouchers as payment. These vouchers can be used at any retail or service provider partnered with Containers for Change.
The funds received for your collected containers can also be donated to a local community group or charity of your choice. By quoting the scheme ID of the community group or charity when returning containers to a refund point, your earnings will be directly donated. Some organisation may have a container collection cage or bin on site where you may be able to deposit your containers directly.
Benefits of the Scheme
Through the ‘Containers for Change Scheme’, more than 500 jobs will be created at refund points across the State. Hundreds of these jobs will be targeted at employing people living with a disability, the long-term unemployed, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
To get involved sign up and create a scheme ID, visit the Containers for Change website at www.containersforchange.com, or the DWER website at www.dwer.wa.gov.au/cds for a full list of eligible containers and learn more about this project.
The team at Integrate Sustainability support this project and is passionate about reducing waste in our community and the environment. If you need help to meet your waste management goals or for more advice and assistance, contact us through 08 9468 0338 or email@example.com.
Australia, G. o. (2020, 01 16). Media Statements. Retrieved 09 15, 2020, from https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/01/First-look-at-Containers-for-Change-recycling-network.aspx
Change, C. f. (2020, 09 15). Containers for change. Retrieved 09 15, 2020, from https://www.containersforchange.com.au/wa
M.O. Rodrigues, N. A. (2019). Impacts of plastic products used in daily life on the environment and human health: What is known? Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacolog, 1382-6689.
Meghdad Pirsaheb, H. H. (2020). Review of microplastic occurrence and toxicological effects in marine environment: Experimental evidence of inflammation. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 1-14.
Schauble, J. (2006). Message in a Bottle: Culture, Bushfire and Community Understanding. Bushfire Conference: Life In A Fire-Prone Environment: Translating Science Into Practice.