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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Containers for Change?

Containers for Change is Western Australia’s new container deposit scheme. Containers for Change will provide a 10-cent refund for each eligible container returned for recycling at an approved Containers for Change Refund Point, encouraging recycling and creating a cleaner WA for everyone.

When will Containers for Change commence?

Containers for Change will launch in Western Australia from 1 October 2020.

Why do we need Containers for Change?

Containers for Change will reduce litter, reduce landfill and improve recycling in Western Australia.

Beverage containers make up 44% of all litter in Western Australia (by volume, 2017-18 National Litter Index), even though they are made from easily recyclable materials such as glass, plastic, aluminium and cardboard. To help encourage more Western Australians to collect and return these containers, Containers for Change will provide a 10-cent refund for each container that is returned.

Western Australia is the sixth state or territory to adopt a container deposit scheme. South Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland have schemes in place. In South Australia, where a container deposit scheme has been in place since 1977, containers account for less than 3% of litter; much less than the 44% currently found in Western Australia.

Container for Change also provides an exciting fundraising opportunity for schools, local sports clubs, community groups, charities and worthwhile causes; the scheme will also create hundreds of jobs across Western Australia.

How will Containers for Change work?

Customers return their eligible containers to a Containers for Change Refund Point for a 10-cent refund. Eligible containers can also be donated at Donation Points set up by local community groups, charities or not-for-profit organisations. Containers can be returned by individuals or organisations, and any number of containers can be returned at one time, providing the given Refund Point has the capacity to accept them. Containers for Change will operate statewide. Nearer the scheme launch date you will be able to check for an authorised Containers for Change Refund Point near you at www.containersforchange.com.au The diagram below shows the key roles within the scheme, including scheme coordinator WARRRL, First Responsible Suppliers (beverage), Refund Points, Donation Points, Recyclers and Material Recovery Facilities. The diagram also indicates how an eligible container flows through the scheme.

How it works

Which containers are eligible for a refund?

The scheme targets beverage 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.

eligable containers

Generally, ineligible containers are those that are less than 150ml and greater than 3L. Other ineligible containers include all plain milk bottles, wine bottles, pure spirit bottles, cordial and registered health tonics. Pure juice containers over 1L (or under 150ml) are also ineligible.

ineligible containers

For a full list, go to www.dwer.wa.gov.au/cds/information

What containers are approved for the Western Australia Container Deposit Scheme?

The PDF link below shows the register of products that have been approved by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation in accordance with Division 3 of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery (Container Deposit Scheme) Regulations 2019. This list will be updated as new approvals are provided.

See the latest list here.

Why are milk and wine bottles not part of Containers for Change?

The scope of eligible beverage in Western Australia is consistent with other schemes across Australia, where milk and wine bottles are not included. Eligible containers will be reviewed periodically and in conjunction with other states and territories.

Do lids need to be removed from beverage containers before taking them to a Refund Point?

Yes, lids should be removed from containers for the following reasons:

  • Removing the lids helps with the crushing of containers at processing facilities; and
  • Plastic lids are usually made from different plastics to the bottle, so separating the plastics makes the bottles easier to recycle.
  • Lids are recyclable. Lids can be taken to various drop off locations to be recycled. Containers for Change Refund Points will also collect lids for recycling, just remove them from the container first.

Can crushed or damaged containers be accepted by a Refund Point?

While some light crushing is permissible, the Refund Point must be able to identify the container as an eligible container.

Reverse vending machines may require a barcode or intact shape to do this.

If you are unsure, you should check with the Refund Point where you intend to return the containers.

Will containers collected before 1 October 2020 be eligible?

All containers should continue to be recycled through the yellow lid kerbside collection system until Containers for Change commences on 1 October 2020.

The 10-cent refund will apply to eligible containers purchased or collected as litter on or after the scheme start date.

Containers for Change Refund Point operators will have discretion to reject containers they reasonably believe were supplied prior to scheme commencement. In addition, if you are returning 1500 or more containers you will be required to sign a declaration stating that the containers you are returning are eligible: that they were purchased or collected as litter on or after the scheme start date. Essentially, this is an honour system and we trust West Australians to do the right thing.

Why are containers not eligible until the scheme commencement date?

It’s all to do with how the scheme is funded. Maintaining the integrity of the funding model is critical to the scheme’s viability. Containers for Change is set up so beverage suppliers take responsibility for the life cycle of their product, helping improve recycling rates and reduce the environmental impact of their beverage containers. They do this by paying a per container amount on their eligible products which pays for the cost of operating the scheme, including our all-important customer refunds. 

Beverage suppliers do not pay for the scheme – including customer refunds – until the scheme commences on 1 October 2020. If you return a container that was purchased before the scheme start date it means that its supplier has not yet paid for your 10-cent refund. As you can imagine, paying customer refunds before receiving any income is likely to affect the scheme’s viability and effectiveness. We are determined for Containers for Change to be the most successful container deposit scheme in Australia and the world! We’ve lined up fantastic recycling options for our containers, including local processors, and we’re supporting wonderful local businesses, non-profits and community groups through Refund and Donation Point operations in every corner of our vast State. In order for us to ensure we’re supporting our operators, improving our State’s recycling efforts and keeping our State beautiful we all need to do the right thing!

To make sure commercial participants are also doing the right thing, scheme coordinator WARRRL has the authority to audit contracted scheme participants to ensure no large-scale commercial hoarding occurs prior to scheme commencement. This includes MRFs (Materials Recovery Facilities) which are the places your yellow top kerbside recycling ends up. Once the scheme commences, contracted MRFs will be submitting their containers through the scheme in order to receive refunds.  

What is a Refund Point?

A Refund Point is an approved location operated by businesses, charities or organisations where members of the public can return eligible empty beverage containers in exchange for a refund of 10-cents per container.

Any commercial entity, social enterprise, charity, non-profit, or community group can apply to be a Refund Point operator.

What does a Refund Point do?

A Refund Point:

  • Collects eligible containers;
  • Pays customers 10-cent refunds per eligible container;
  • Counts returned containers;
  • Sorts containers into 11 different material types;
  • Securely stores containers;
  • Reports on returned containers to the scheme coordinator using the free Containers for Change Point of Sale system;
  • Fulfils audit and reporting duties; and
  • Connects with their local community

In addition to these day-to-day responsibilities, Refund Point operators are the face of Western Australia’s Containers for Change scheme and are expected to provide high levels of customer service.

What does a Refund Point look like?

Each Containers for Change Refund Point may look different. The scheme is designed to be flexible in order to meet the needs of each community and to promote diversity in participation.

Types of Refund Points will include:

OVER-THE-COUNTER DEPOT

Depots are dedicated sites designed to count, sort and store large volumes of a variety of containers. Depots are large centres where customers can take their containers to get a refund.

BAG DROP (bag it, tag it, drop it)

Bag Drop Off sites offer convenient access with little to no waiting times – it’s ‘drop and go’. Bag Drop Off sites are often included within charity op-shops or retail stores or even pods in the carparks of shopping centres. At each Bag Drop Off site customers will print out a unique label using their Scheme ID stick it on their bag and drop their bag of eligible containers into the dedicated chute or bin. Payment will be credited to their nominated account.

REVERSE VENDING MACHINE (RVM)

Reverse vending machines are great for small amounts of containers, and for combining a refund trip with a trip to the shops.

Reverse vending machines are unattended machines which allow for containers to be inserted for an instant refund, cash equivalent or payment via a Scheme ID account (EFT).

MOBILE

Mobile Refund Points provide a scheduled service, allowing customers, community groups and charities to return their containers for a refund either in cash or to the Scheme ID provided. These Points are operated by over-the-counter depots or drop-offs; usually using a trailer with a cage parked at a regional location such as a community store or supermarket, for a few hours on a Saturday morning (for example).

Pop-up container Refund Points operate at one-off events or functions.

What is a Donation Point?

A Donation Point is usually run by a charity, school, community or sporting group and used for fundraising purposes. Customers drop their containers into the bin or cage, effectively donating their refund to the Donation Point operator.

A Donation Point operator takes the containers to a Refund Point to receive the refund amount – doing so either themselves or through a partnership with a Refund Point operator.

Any community group, sports group, school or not-for-profit organisation can operate a Donation Point. All that is required is a cage or collection bin to keep the containers secure until the containers can be redeemed for a refund.

If you do not have the time or resources to be a physical Donation Point, you can also be a Virtual Donation Point. Virtual Donation Points allow any community group, school or sporting group, charity,and not-for-profit organisation to register with the scheme and receive a Scheme ID. This enables groups to share their Scheme ID with their customers, supporters and network base, without physically hosting a Donation Point themselves. 

When you take your containers to an over-the-counter depot, drop-off, RVM or mobile or pop-up site, simply use the group's scheme Id to donate your containers and the nominated group will receive the 10-cent refund. 

How can I become a Donation Point?

Containers for Change provides an exciting fundraising opportunity for school P&Cs, local sports clubs, community groups, charities and worthwhile causes.

How? It’s easy – you can be an actual donation point as well as a virtual donation point.

To become a Donation Point, you simply register for a Scheme ID at the Containers for Change website and set up a cage or refund point on-site where people can safely drop off their eligible containers.

You will also need to arrange for the containers to be delivered to a Refund Point – which you can do yourself, or partner with a Refund Point to do it for you. The Refund Point will also do all the sorting and counting for you and send your refund by electronic transfer directly to your specified bank account. This is a great set-up for organisations that have space for a cage.

If you are looking for a short-term fundraising activity, you can often hire mobile cages for container collection drives or events from a local Refund Point.

The other type of Donation Point is a virtual Donation Point. As the name suggests, there’s no physical handling, storage or transport required by you – your supporters do all the work for you. You simply provide your supporters with your Scheme ID. They can return their containers to any Refund Point in the State, quote your Scheme ID and direct their refund payment to your organisation’s specified bank account.

Once you have decided on the type of Donation Point your organisation wants to be, all you need to do is register for your Scheme ID. You can register today at the Containers for Change website.

Who operates Containers for Change?

WA Return Recycle Renew Ltd (WARRRL) is a not-for-profit company established to manage and operate the scheme. WARRRL was selected by the State Government as Scheme Coordinator in May 2019.

WARRRL was founded by members of the beverage industry in recognition of the responsibility that the beverage industry shares with the community for reducing and dealing with waste generated by beverage product packaging.

WARRRL’s appointment and WA’s container deposit scheme is governed by the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007, in amendments passed to this legislation in March 2019 (Part 5A - Container deposit scheme).

WARRRL is solely focused on achieving the aims of the Scheme as outlined in the governing Act: –

  1. increase the recovery and recycling of empty beverage containers; and
  2. reduce the number of empty beverage containers that are disposed of as litter or to landfill; and
  3. ensure that first responsible suppliers of beverage products take product stewardship responsibility in relation to their beverage products; and
  4. provide opportunities for social enterprise, and benefits for community organisations, through participation in the container deposit scheme; and
  5. create opportunities for employment; and
  6. complement existing collection and recycling activities for recyclable waste.

To find out more about WARRRL go to www.warrrl.com.au.

As scheme coordinator, what does WARRRL do?

WARRRL oversees the operation of container Refund Points, logistics and processing providers, the online auction portal for the sale of processed containers and other service providers required to deliver the scheme. WARRRL is responsible for:

  • Scheme accessibility – Establishing a network of refund points to provide communities in Western Australia with access to refund points to return eligible containers;
  • Product stewardship – Ensuring that all beverage suppliers (first responsible suppliers) fund the Scheme
  • Scheme payments – Setting and facilitating payments under the Scheme;
  • Scheme awareness – Promoting the Scheme and managing complaints with respect to both customers and Scheme participants;
  • Recycling – Ensuring ongoing, efficient and effective arrangements are available in Western Australia for empty eligible containers to be collected, sorted, processed and recycled; and
  • Scheme Integrity – Ensuring payments and reporting are verified and the Scheme is free from fraud.

Who will fund 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 beverage containers. 

Any beverage product supplier which supplies eligible containers in Western Australia must enter into a Supply Agreement (SA) with WARRRL prior to Scheme Commencement. Beverage manufacturers contribute their share of the Scheme costs for each container supplied into Western Australia, which goes towards the 10-cent refund provided for recycling eligible containers. 

The amount a manufacturer contributes is based on the number of products each manufacturer sells in eligible containers in Western Australia. 

How does Containers for Change provide employment opportunities?

Containers for Change will create opportunities for employment through the development of a collection network, logistics and other aspects of the scheme.

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.

How will Containers for Change reduce litter and 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.

While most beverages come in recyclable containers, many currently end up in landfill or become litter. Beverage containers account for 44% of all litter by volume in WA (2017-18 National Litter Index).

The container deposit scheme provides a 10-cent incentive to return containers for recycling and will significantly reduce the numbers of containers that are littered or disposed of to landfill.

The containers returned to Containers for Change are sorted by material type and are typically cleaner than those collected through recycling bins. This improves the value of the material as feedstock for recycling and reprocessing.

All containers returned through Containers for Change will be recycled. The Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Act 2007 requires that all returned containers are recycled and must not be disposed of.

What happens to the eligible containers that I choose to put in my kerbside recycling bin? Who receives the refund on those?

We encourage people to return their eligible drink containers to a Containers for Change Refund Point so they or their nominated charity can benefit directly from the container deposit scheme.

Any eligible containers placed in kerbside recycling bins can be redeemed by the kerbside recycling operator (Material Recovery Facilities, or MRFs), provided they have entered into the necessary agreement with scheme coordinator, WARRRL.

These containers are eligible for the 10-cent recovery amount per container. Recovery amounts for containers collected through the kerbside recycling bins will be shared equitably between MRFs and Local Governments.

Will eligible containers be marked?

Yes. You can identify eligible containers by their refund mark, which manufactures must include on all eligible containers within two years of the scheme commencement date. 

The refund mark will state: “10c refund at collection depots/points in participating State/Territory of purchase”.

Where can I return my containers?

Western Australians will have more refund points per head of population than any other state or territory.

Upon scheme commencement, return your eligible containers to an authorised Containers for Change Refund Point to receive your 10-cent per container refund.

Closer to the scheme commencement, you will be able to check the location of Refund Points near you via an easy-to-search locator and map on the Containers for Change website.

How will I receive my refund?

Refund Point operators can issue 10-cent refunds in various ways:

  • in cash
  • by EFT if the person/charity has a Containers for Change Scheme ID
  • in redeemable vouchers (e.g. supermarket cash vouchers); or
  • via donation. That is, the refund is forgone by the customer in lieu of a donation to a chosen registered charity

Upon scheme commencement, customers will be able to check what refund options each Refund Point offers via the Containers for Change website.

Where will Refund Points be located?

The Western Australian Government has mandated a minimum number and locations for Refund Points. The Minimum Network Standards developed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) can be found on the DWER website: www.dwer.wa.gov.au/cds/information.

When CFC launches in Western Australia, we will be opening at least 172 Refund Points across the state. This will grow to a minimum of 229 Refund Points by the end of our first year.

Closer to scheme commencement you will be able to check the location of Refund Points near you via an easy-to-search locator and map on the Containers for Change website. The minimum Refund Points per region of Western Australia to be operational by 2 June 2021.

Will regional and remote WA get Refund Points?

The number of Refund Points per head of population will be better in WA than in any other State or Territory in Australia.

Closer to scheme commencement, you will be able to check the location of Refund Points near you via an easy-to-search locator and map on the Containers for Change website.

The Western Australian Government has mandated a minimum number and locations for Refund Points. The Minimum Network Standards developed by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) can be found on the DWER website: www.dwer.wa.gov.au/cds/information.

Compliance with the State Government’s Minimum Network Standards will see Containers for Change achieve the minimum service standards for approximately 98.8 per cent of the state’s population.

How can I donate containers to a community group or charity?

There are several options for donating your containers.

  1. Drop off your containers at a Donation Point.
  2. Donate to a charity or community group by using their Scheme ID at a Refund Point.

What’s a Scheme ID?

Customers, charities, community groups, clubs, school P&Cs and more can register for a Container for Change Scheme ID at http://customer.containersforchange.com.au/create-account?scheme=WA.

Charities, community groups, school P&Cs, local sports clubs and others will also be able to register online for a Scheme ID.

Customers can receive their 10c eligible container refund via EFT through their Scheme ID.

Customers can elect to donate their refund to their chosen registered charity, school or community organisation using that organisation’s Scheme ID.

Community groups can advertise their Scheme ID to drive donations and help strengthen their fundraising efforts.

A Scheme ID can be obtained by registering via the Containers for Change website, closer to scheme commencement in mid-2020.

scheme ID on mobile

Will I have to pay more for drinks which are eligible under the scheme?

The costs of the scheme will be borne by beverages suppliers. It will be an individual decision by each supplier to determine to what extent the cost is passed to customers, bearing in mind that customers will be able to retrieve 10c from each returned eligible container from a Containers for Change Refund Point operator.

Western Australia's independent Economic Regulation Authority will monitor the prices of beverages sold in the state before and after the commencement of the container deposit scheme. This will ensure that any increased beverage costs attributed to the scheme reflect the actual costs of the scheme. For more information visit www.erawa.com.au/containerdeposits.

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