How to set up a Community Container Collection Project
Queenslanders have well and truly embraced the new Containers for Change state-wide container deposit scheme. Since the launch in December 2018, more than 300million containers have been collected. 
As part of the new scheme, the government is encouraging community groups (including sporting clubs, service clubs, schools, local catchment groups and registered charities) to establish their own container collection points to raise money and awareness.
Establishing your own container collection project can be a great way to engage the local community to support a highly positive cause. In addition, collection points can act as a fundraising tool to generate money for worthy projects. However, community groups need to ensure they establish their collection points correctly to both meet program guidelines and gain maximum benefits. There are various options available for community groups and we have highlighted three below.
Setting up a container collection project
1. Run a Container Collection Fundraising Campaign
For some community groups, establishing a full collection program may not be feasible. So why not hold a short-term container collection campaign? This can be done by establishing a specific time-frame and location for people to come and drop-off containers. We suggest giving people a fair bit of notice prior to your campaign so they can save up all their eligible containers!
You will need to ensure you have crates or boxes to collect the containers and a team of volunteers to manage the process. Once you have collected your containers, simply take the containers to your local container deposit centre. (We recommend picking one with our Container Deposit System Technology as the process will be much faster!)
To support your cause, you may want to run a social media campaign. Recently, the global #trashtag phenomenon has encouraged teens and social media users to take a picture of an area which is covered in trash, then ‘do something about it’ and re-post the image.  Get creative and see what you can create! Who knows, it may go viral too…
2. Establish an on-going collection project
For community groups with an established location, there is the opportunity to set up a permanent container collection point where locals can donate containers on a regular basis. Once the containers are collected, your community group can deliver to a local container deposit depot to collect the funds. Sounds simple right? Well, here are a few key things to consider:
- Start with an operations plan: before commencing, get a plan in place and include: where will the collection take place? How will it be monitored (security wise)? Who will be responsible for taking the containers to the deposit depot? How often will you deliver the containers? For schools, this is a great learning activity for students to get involved with.
- Get your infrastructure sorted: for Queensland based groups, Containers for Change recommend community groups partner with local container deposit facility to gain access to infrastructure such as cages, bins and/or trailers. For other states, contacting your local container deposit facility is a great first step to getting your infrastructure established.
- Build your own guidelines and signage: it is important for your community members to know how your facility will work. Prepare guidelines so people understand this is a community project and don’t try to steal containers for themselves! Signage is also key to make sure containers are collected and sorted correctly. Planet Ark has some great resources to support correct and relevant signage for projects: https://schoolsrecycle.planetark.org/documents/doc-885-recycling-system-guide-final.pdf
- Promote your collection point: to launch your new container collection point, why not run a promotional campaign? You can create your own #trashtag, design some posters to place around the community, or even get the local media involved. To help with other ideas, ourcommunity.com.au has created a list of 25 ways to promote your event for free: https://www.ourcommunity.com.au/management/view_help_sheet.do?articleid=297
- Get local businesses on board: in addition to getting the local community behind your project, you can also look to encourage local café’s and restaurants to support. This can be via promoting your collection point to their customers or asking them to donate their used containers.
- Keep your community engaged: once the project is up and running, it’s important to keep the momentum up to ensure long term success. This can be done by establishing an online community (such as Facebook) where you can keep people updated on the project success and fundraising figures. You can also use the forum to continue to promote your collection point!
Containers for Change also encourages community groups to reach out to mobile container refund points stating:
“Mobile container 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 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).”
3. Become an official collection point
If your community-based collection point really takes off, there is the opportunity to become an official container collection point. This means that you become part of the official container circular economy. Official collection points are responsible for offering a refund to people who bring containers in. Collection points receive a handling fee per container in lieu of the physical 10cents per container. Please note, official collection points need to pass a range of other requirements, so best to check with your state’s container deposit scheme prior to planning.
Official collection points can be a ‘drop-off’ service where you can manually count the containers to determine a refund. However, this process can be very time-consuming. A more productive option may be to partner with an existing facility that already has container sorting automation in place. Across Australia, many facilities are utilising the Container Deposit System’s technologies including; The Cash Redemption Terminal, The Manual Input Station, The Auto Redemption Terminal and the multi-award-winning Bulk Redemption Terminal.
However you choose to support your local container deposit scheme, start by checking out your local program. You can find details on all the state programs here: https://www.containerdepositsystems.com.au/articles/the-new-state-of-container-deposit-schemes-in-australia
Are there other ways your community group supports your state container despot scheme? If yes, let us know!
About Container Deposit Systems
Container Deposit Systems was formed with a vision to oversee the implementation of improved operational practices in recycling facilities. The company offers a range of services to recycling depot facilities to drive productivity improvements and transition traditional recycling facilities into modern technically advanced operators.
The company achieve this through patented technologies which deliver manufacturing automation to auto-sort materials via a highly sensitive multi-sensor integration. Systems integrations enable facilities to further gain efficiencies through workflows, materials handling, logistic processes, facility layout and design, customer interaction and data acquisition and management.
Container Deposit Systems technologies are designed and manufactured in Australia with local partners Sage Automation and Macweld Engineering.
For more information, please contact us directly.