You recycle your bottles and cans at your local Containers for Change refund point but have you ever wondered what happens to them next?

Your containers have now entered the cycle of the circular economy which means they are recycled and reused to create new products.

Keen to know more? We break down the four key steps of the process.

1. The refund point

At the refund point, your containers are sorted into different material streams. Depending on where you cash in, this might be done manually by a team member or by a sorting machine. The different material streams are:

  • Plastic (PET or HDPE)
  • Cans (aluminium)
  • Glass bottles
  • Liquid paperboard (poppers and juice boxes)
  • Steel

Once your containers have been sorted and counted, you will receive your 10-cent refund for each eligible container. But for your containers, it’s just the beginning.

Birds eye view bottles and cans

2. Logistics and processing

The sorted containers are then collected by a logistics provider and taken to a processing facility. At the processing facility, the containers are baled, weighed, and prepared for sale to accredited recyclers.

FUN FACT: There can be up to 28,000 recycled containers in a bale!

Truck at MRF

3. Accredited recyclers

The bales of containers are then sold to a panel of accredited recyclers every week through an online auction portal.

These recyclers are purchasing the recycled containers to turn them into new products.

Baled plastic bottles

4. Ready to be used again

Once the materials have been purchased by our accredited recyclers, they go through their own individual processes such as:

  • Melted down and turned into new bottles
  • Shredded and used to make insulation
  • Turned into pellets that can be used to make other plastic products, such as furniture or clothing

FUN FACT: The process of a bottle becoming another bottle can be as short a time as two weeks!

By recycling your containers, you are making a difference for the environment and helping keep recyclable drink containers out of landfill.