Time for change

mySouthPerth Magazine | BIRAK 4 December 2023

South Perth Foreshore is one of the most popular places in Perth, with more than one million people visiting it each year.

A popular spot for outdoor activities, as well as picnics with family and friends, the vast stretch of public space;is now home to 126 container exchange points.

The clearly marked Containers for Change baskets and cradles are fitted to each bin from the South Perth Boat Ramp near the Narrows Bridge to the Ellam Street carpark, providing ample opportunity for people to drop off their empty bottles and cans.

Any community member (even you) can collect thesecontainers and return them to a local Containers for Change refund point. For every accepted container you return, you’ll receive a 10¢ refund, which you can keep for yourself or choose to donate to a good cause like a local charity, community group or school.

The installation of exchange points has coincided with the removal of 11 recycling bins on the foreshore. This change comes after the City undertook a review that revealed some unexpected results.

“The waste team completed an audit over four weeks of the 11 recycling bins at Sir James Mitchell Park. Contamination items included nappies, dog poo and food scraps, with the most common contamination item being coffee cups,” the City’s Waste Supervisor, Georgia Benson, says.

“Other than the Containers for Change eligible containers, only 28% of the remaining material was recyclable, however, due to the contamination, these items were not truly recyclable.”

Georgia says it’s not uncommon for recycling bins in public areas to experience high levels of contamination but even she was surprised by what they found. “A common misconception is that ‘biodegradable’ packaging is recyclable, which unfortunately, is not the case. Biodegradable packaging, however, will break down in landfills in less time than other types of packaging.”

She says the new initiative is helping to keep cans and bottles out of landfill and give them another life.

“Visitors to the foreshore have already started using the cradles and baskets. Not only is the program reducing the amount of cans and bottles going to landfill but it’s also allowing other people to collect the containers for schools, charities or kids’ pocket money.”

WA Return Recycle Renew Limited (WARRRL), the not-for-profit scheme coordinator for Containers for Change, offer local governments 20 free container exchange points and a subsidy of 70% for additional baskets and cradles that are purchased.

Rebecca Cutter, WARRRL’s Head of Business Development says there are 31 local governments using the system in WA and the City of South Perth is the first to have over 100 exchange points installed.

“Local governments have reported that they are emptying their public place bins less frequently,” she says. “And some are purchasing additional container exchange points due to the success of the program.”

Accepted Containers for Change:

  • Most single-serve water and fizzy drink containers up to and including 3L
  • Most single-serve alcohol containers, such as beer bottles and pre-mixed spirits

  • Flavoured milk containers ranging from 150ml to 999ml

  • Coconut water, pure fruit, or vegetable juice containers ranging from 150ml to 999ml

  • Any container with the 10c refund mark.

Containers for Change refund locations include:

  • Manning Farmers Market, George Burnett Park, Karawara (Saturdays, 7.30am-12.30pm) Victoria Park Community Centre, 248 Gloucester Street, East Victoria Park

  • City of Perth Depot, 8 Aberdeen Street, Perth.