Less Waste Wednesday – Containers for Change – a container deposit scheme

recycling containers

I’m big on recycling in our household. You can see how we divvy up our household waste in this earlier post.  One thing that does rattle me somewhat is how complacent we are as a society about our waste, and how often we act with very little thought about what happens next to items that have been used (especially recyclable material).

One thing that is definitely bringing more focus on this issue is the “Container Deposit” Schemes which are encouraging people within Australia to cash in empty aluminium, glass and plastic containers in return for cash.  Queensland came on board with their “Containers for Change” scheme this year, following in the footsteps of South Australia which has been successfully running the programme since 1977. The ACT, New South Wales and the Northern Territory are already on board, with WA scheduled to commence in 2020. (Victoria and Tasmania are yet to advise if and when they will be initiating this type of programme).

I’ve been using this scheme to help our two boys earn pocket money. Eligible containers returned are cashed in at 10 cents per container.  They collect up any containers from home, and sometimes ask neighbours if they would be happy for them to collect their containers as well, then once a month we trot down to a return centre to cash their hoard in.

It has made them (and myself) so much more acutely aware of how things can be reused. Going to a centre where these products are sorted, and being paid for them, helps educate my kids that this ‘trash’ has value. It can be remade, it is something of value, and shouldn’t just be dumped off a truck and covered with earth.

Are you making use of the container deposit schemes in your area? Or are you reading this from outside of Australia? Does your country have a similar system, or something else encouraging? Tell me about it in the comments below, I’d love to know.

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