Containers for Change Scheme

Containers for Change is a new state-wide container deposit scheme commencing 1 October 2020. The scheme lets you cash in eligible containers for 10 cents each when they are returned to an approved Containers for Change refund point, encouraging recycling and creating a cleaner WA for everyone.

Western Australia is the fifth state or territory to adopt a container deposit scheme, following the lead of South Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and most recently, Queensland.

The scheme provides an exciting fundraising opportunity for schools, local sports clubs, community groups and charities; you even have the option to donate your 10 cent refund to a community group, charity or school of your choice.

In WA, we use more than 1.3 billion eligible drink containers each year and it accounts for 44% of litter.

Did you know? That’s enough drink containers to line a path from Perth to Broome!

For refund locations, eligible container information and how to use the scheme, visit Containers for Change 

For the frequently asked questions, visit the Containers for Change FAQs.

For information on the scheme provider, visit the WA Return Recycle Renew.

Why Do We Need The Scheme?

Less Litter:

South Australia has been doing this for years with only 3% of litter is containers, much less than the 44% currently found in Western Australia.

Less Waste to Landfill:

Around 1.3 billion eligible beverages are consumed in Western Australia every year. Over 10 years that’s 13 billion containers – enough to fill Optus Stadium three times or enough drink containers to line a path from Perth to Broome.

Creates Employment & Opportunities:

Recycling has positive economic benefits—creating more jobs than sending waste to landfill. Every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled creates 9.2 full-time jobs compared with 2.8 jobs when the same amount of waste is sent to landfill.

Containers for Change will create opportunities for some of our most vulnerable people with a key objective of the scheme to support employment of people with a disability and the long-term unemployed.

South Australia estimates that approximately 1,000 people are employed through its collection network. The Queensland scheme has created almost 600 jobs across the network since its commencement in November 2018.

Who operates Containers for Change?

WA Return Recycle Renew Ltd (WARRRL) is a not-for-profit company established to coordinate the scheme in WA. The Containers for Change refund points are operated by over 70 organisations, including commercial entities, not for profit organisations, charities, sporting groups, Local Governments and Aboriginal corporations.

Who funds Containers for Change?

Containers for Change is a product stewardship scheme, in which industry manufacturers share responsibility for the sustainable management of products. Under the scheme, beverage suppliers pay for the cost of operating a convenient and accessible recycling scheme to recover eligible containers.

In this way, suppliers take responsibility for helping to improve recycling rates and reduce the environmental impact of empty drink containers.

Which containers are eligible for a refund?

Containers for Change targets drink containers most commonly seen as litter. Most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and 3L are eligible for a refund.

FAQ-image-CDS.jpg

Which containers are not eligible for a refund?

All containers smaller than 150ml and bigger than 3L are not eligible for a refund. Other ineligible containers include:

  • Plain milk containers;
  • Glass containers which have contained wine or pure spirits;
  • Large containers (1L or more) which have contained flavoured milk, pure juice, cask wine or cask water;
  • Cordial or vegetable juice containers;
  • Wine sachets above 250mL;
  • And regsitered health tonics

For the full list of ineligible containers registered by the State Government, please see here. If your local council offers recycling, check with the council to see which containers can still be recycled through their kerbside collection service.

Why are some drink containers, like wine and milk containers, not eligible for a refund?

Containers for Change aims to reduce beverage container litter in the environment as well as landfill volumes. The containers eligible for a refund are those most commonly consumed outside of the home and so, are more likely to end up as litter in the environment as well as landfill.

The scope of eligible beverage in Western Australia is also consistent with other schemes across Australia.

How can I tell if my container is eligible?

You can check if your container is eligible by:

  • Finding the refund mark on the container ("10c refund at collection depots/points in participating State/Territory of purchase") or;
  • Entering the container's barcode into the container checker here.
Should lids be removed from containers?

Yes, lids should be removed from containers and all refund points will have dedicated bins where you can return your container lids for recycling. They need to be removed for the following reasons:

  • Removing lids helps with the crushing of containers at processing facilities
  • Plastic lids are usually made from different plastics to the bottle, so seperating the plastics makes the bottles easier to recycle
  • Lids are recyclable
Can crushed or damaged containers be returned?

Containers don’t need to be in perfect condition for them to be returned. Containers can be crushed, and labels removed, as long as the refund point operator can identify the container as an eligible container.

Containers returned through reverse vending machines (RVM) will need a readable barcode so it can be scanned to check the container is eligible.

The refund point has the ultimate discretion on whether containers will be accepted so check with the Refund Point where you intend to return the containers.

Is there a maximum number of containers I can return?

You may be asked to show your driver’s licence if returning more than 825 containers. You will be required to sign a declaration form if returning more than 1,500 containers. The refund point operator can refuse to accept your containers if you don’t sign the declaration.

Some refund points may also have cash limits, so it’s a good idea to check in with them before returning a large number of containers.

Where can I return my containers?

To find your nearest refund point, visit this page. Search your postcode or suburb in the map’s search bar and click on the nearby pins to get the details of your local refund point. Scroll down the page to find more information on the different types of refund points.

Where will the containers go after they are collected?

After you return your containers, they will be sorted into material type (glass, aluminium, PET plastic or HDPE plastic). The sorted containers will then be sent to a recycler for processing and/or recycling, or delivered to a final recycling destination.

Refund point operators will need to provide evidence that they have forwarded the containers to a recycler. WA legislation intends to prohibit refunded containers from being sent to landfill.

Can the program be used as a fundraiser?

Absolutely!  This scheme is a great way for schools, community groups, charities, sports clubs, scout troops and others to raise much-needed funds.

Organisations may choose to set up a collection cage where eligible containers can be dropped off, and then collect the deposit when they are returned for recycling.

WA Return Recycle Renew Ltd (WARRRL) is accepting registrations/expressions of interest from organisations wishing to become refund point operators. You can find more information about the Containers for Change program, by visiting the website.

Will the container deposit scheme cost me money?

A 10 cent increase on the purchase price of eligible items is expected, as the cost of running the scheme will be passed on to beverage companies. But that money can be claimed back when the container is deposited.

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