How it works
How to start making change
Sign up for a Scheme ID
Sign up for a Scheme ID; it is the easy way to receive your refund via a direct deposit (electronic funds transfer) into your bank account.
Other refund payment options are available (voucher, donation, or cash) and do not require a Scheme ID. Please check with your local Containers for Change Refund Point operator for available payment options.
Collect eligible containers
Most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and 3L are eligible for a refund. The scheme targets beverage containers most commonly seen as litter. Check if your container is eligible for a refund below.
Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) use a scanner to read each container's barcode to check its eligibility. Therefore, RVMs can’t accept crushed cans and bottles. However, other types of Refund Points in the network, including those where containers are counted by hand, can accept crushed cans if the can is identifiable as an eligible container.
In all cases, please be sure that all containers are empty and have their lids removed.
Most aluminium, glass, plastic, steel and liquid paperboard beverage containers between 150ml and 3L are eligible for a refund when returned to a container Refund Point. To be eligible the beverage container must:
- Have contained a beverage product that is not excluded from the scheme. For example, cordials and plain milk are not included in the scheme so containers that have held these products are not eligible for a refund
- Display the refund mark. This is so that the Refund Point operator can see if the container is part of the scheme. Most containers will already have a refund mark for SA and NT and these containers are eligible under Containers for Change. Beverage manufacturers have 2 years from scheme commencement to display new refund mark.
- Be an approved container. Some containers are made from materials that cannot be recycled. These containers may not be approved (by the Western Australia Government) as an eligible container as the scheme requires that when a refund is paid on a container, that container must be recycled.
There are some beverage containers that are not eligible for a refund. Generally, ineligible containers are those that are less than 150ml and greater than 3L. Other ineligible containers include:
- Any plain milk containers
- Any glass containers which have contained wine or pure spirits
- Containers 1L or more which have contained flavoured milk, pure fruit or vegetable juice, cask wine or cask water
- Concentrated/undiluted cordial or syrup containers
- Sachets above 250ml which have contained wine
- Registered health tonics
Most ineligible containers, such as plain milk bottles and glass wine bottles, can still be recycled through existing kerbside collection or drop-off services.
Return containers to refund points
There are different types of container Refund Points available, including over-the-counter depots, drop-offs, reverse vending machines (RVMs), mobile and pop-up refund points.
Over-the-counter depots, using electronic scanners or staff, will count your containers immediately and may provide refunds in cash or via an electronic funds transfer (EFT) into your bank account. You will also be able to donate your containers to a community group or charity, using their unique Scheme ID.
Some over-the-counter depots will also provide a bag drop-off service, allowing customers to quickly ‘drop-off’ their bags of containers. See below for further details on this type of Refund Point.
Drop-offs are a convenient way to recycle your containers and receive a refund. There are three key steps to remember:
- Bag it: bag your containers using a multi-use bag
- Tag it: tag your containers using labels from your local Refund Point, displaying your Scheme ID
- Drop it: drop off your containers at your local container 'drop-off' Refund Point
Where do I get my multi-use bag from?
- Multi-use bags or shopping bags can be purchased from most supermarkets
- Use existing multi-use bags you have at home
- Some operators provide bags as promotional material to build loyalty Just remember to ensure that you can secure the bag to ensure the containers don’t fall out.
Some operators have limits to the number of bags you can drop at one time. Please call the operator in advance to avoid disappointment.
A quick note...
Containers for Change is all about reducing litter and increasing recycling efforts; keeping Western Australia beautiful. So, it’s only natural that we encourage use of multi-use bags. In 2018, the Western Australian Government took action to protect our unique environment and wildlife through the introduction of a ban on the supply of single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags after estimating close to seven million single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags were littered in WA each year.
Using your Scheme ID or the Scheme ID of your local community group or charity, you can scan the barcode and insert eligible uncrushed cans, plastic, glass and liquid paperboard containers into your local RVM.
Please note that crushed containers are not accepted at RVMs.
RVMs will most commonly issue your refund as a ‘cash equivalent’ voucher to a retailer such as your local supermarket. RVMs also allow for customers to forgo their refund and donate the value of their containers to a Container for Change-registered charity or community group.
Mobile Refund Points will 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 usually operated by over-the-counter depots or drop-offs. An example of a Mobile Refund Point is a simple caged trailer parked at a regional location, such as a community store or supermarket, for a few hours on a Saturday morning and staffed by a Refund Point operator collecting and counting returned containers and issuing refunds.
Pop-up container Refund Points operate at one-off events or functions.
Collect (or donate) your refund
When you return your containers to a Refund Point you can choose whichever refund payment or donation method is offered by that Refund Point operator. Payments are made in the following ways:
When signing up for a Scheme ID, you must specify your bank account details. This will ensure that payments made to your Scheme ID are paid via a direct deposit (electronic funds transfer) into your bank account.
Some container Refund Points offer vouchers for use at a retail outlet, such as a local supermarket, as their refund method. Please check with your local Refund Point operator for available payment options.
When you take your containers to an over-the-counter depot, drop-off, RVM, mobile or pop-up site, simply use the Scheme ID of the charity or group you wish to donate to and the value of your refund will be transferred to them.
Most over-the-counter depots will count your containers immediately and provide refunds in cash.