Cans in Crates, James’ young entrepreneurial spirit


There is an entrepreneurial spirit in the heart of the ACT’s community – and it is a young spirit to boot!

As the fourth child in a family of six children, 12-year-old James Jayatilaka has carved out a niche for himself, which is developing financial know-how and individuality.

A few months ago James set up a little business called “Cans in Crates”.  He approached neighbours asking for their help to collect recyclable beverage containers. He gave them a milk crate to place next to their recycling bin which he empties every Saturday after his chores at home are done. James makes his collection rounds on his bike which has been fitted with a home-made trailer, making it easy to transport the cans and bottles. His parents then help out by driving to the ACT Container Deposit Scheme return point to deposit his weekly collection and claim his 10-cent refund for each container.

James’ older sister came up with the business name and helped him design a flyer to hand out explaining what “Cans in Crates” is all about.

He now has almost 20 weekly customers and has also recently, after meeting with the manager and residents, arranged for the local nursing home to put aside their recyclables for him to collect. A couple of the residents have already stopped him to say hi and chat about “Cans in Crates”.

His mother says it’s “a great community project beneficial to the retired residents and we feel also great for James beyond the 10 cent incentive – he loves to have a little chat and is a very friendly young man”.

She is happy to see James show initiative and take full ownership to raise money and set goals.

“[The Container Deposit Scheme] has provided an opportunity through the 10 cent returns for James to grow in independence, put in some hard work with a return, build savings skills and learn self-control with money, meet the community and build relationships with the retiree’s nearby, as well as, of course, encouraging recycling in the community.”

James loves music and plays the trombone in the school band. He is keen to learn the saxophone too and his “Cans in Crates” earnings will contribute to his goal of purchasing one.

Community groups and charities can fundraise through ACT CDS, simply by getting together, collecting eligible containers and redeeming them at return points for 10 cents each.

It is easy for your local community to benefit from ACT CDS. Our toolkit contains all the information you need to get started.

Setting up a recycling business for some pocket money or for charity, would make an excellent school holiday project for the kids. Get out into your community and start collecting!

The ACT CDS is a partnership between the ACT Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator Return-It.