Cash for cans comes back

Western Australians can claim 10 cents for each can they recycle from October 1. Photo: Sean Van Der Wielen.

Western Australians will soon be able to recycle their cans for cash as the state prepares to reintroduce a container deposit scheme, and regional towns are gearing up for the change.

From October 1, Western Australians will be able to claim 10 cents from every can, carton and bottle they collect under the Containers for Change program.

Most beverage containers between 150mL and three litres will be eligible for the refund, with a few exceptions.

Plain milk and cordial containers will not be accepted under the scheme, as will glass wine and spirit bottles.

Fruit juice, flavoured milk and cask water containers over with a more than one litre volume will also not be accepted.

The scheme is a large logistical exercise, with nearly 200 locations being set up across the state to accept the refundable containers.

In the South West town of Donnybrook, the local Lions Club will operate the container refund point.

The club has a long history with recycling, having run a plastic and cardboard processing facility for two decades.

Club president John Hayes believes the scheme’s arrival in WA was perfect timing.

“The price of cardboard was dropping rapidly because of China’s exit from taking any material from Australia,” he said.

“The cardboard and plastic recycling ended up just completely falling in a hole within about six to nine months.

“At that time, the applications came out for interested parties to be involved … and the club jumped on that opportunity.”

Mr Hayes has been pleased with the response of local businesses to the club’s successful application.

“A lot of them have donated time and resources to help us set the refund point property up because it needed a lot of work,” he said.

“Any profits that we make from this venture go back into the community, so they’re helping us because we’re going to end up helping the community.”

In nearby Collie, local company Cash4Cans will be running the town’s container refund point. The company will also be running the container refund points in Capel and Harvey.

Owner Caris Lenaghan believes the scheme is a fantastic initiative.

“It’s about time it came back to WA. I remember it being around as a kid and always wondered why they stopped. When I heard they were bringing it back, I jumped at the chance to be involved.”

It is the first time Ms Lenaghan has been involved in a recycling business.

“It’s exciting and nerve racking at the same time,” she said. “There’s been a lot of preparation … it’s been quite involved.”

The company expects to employ around 10 people across its three sites.

The scheme’s introduction follows a four month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Categories: Environment