Container recycling helps save lives in Canberra hospitals

Canberra hospitals are converting drink containers into a substantial source of funds by recycling them through the ACT Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). 

In a partnership between the Canberra Hospital Foundation (CHF) and the ACT CDS mobile collection service, ReCollect, bottles and cans are collected from Canberra Hospital, with more than 33,000 containers collected so far. This recycling initiative is poised to expand to include more health services in the ACT, all to recycle through the ACT CDS.

The money generated from the container refunds helps with purchasing specialised medical equipment, boosts research funding, and generally helps make life more comfortable for patients. 

Canberra Hospital Foundation is a charity organisation committed to enhancing the quality of healthcare in the ACT. 

Louiza Blomfield, a spokesperson for the Foundation, highlighted their dedication to making a difference for patients.

“Even if it was just the empty water bottles given to patients that were returned, it would raise significant funds each year,” said Louiza.

In addition to water bottles, the plan is to introduce dedicated recycling bins in healthcare facilities to collect other bottles and cans, involving patients, visitors, and staff across various health facilities. This includes all five walk-in centers, Canberra Hospital, University of Canberra Hospital, and North Canberra Hospital.

“It’s a ‘set and forget’ revenue stream for the foundation. It has the potential to be really massive,” emphasized Louiza.

“We started with a small trial period, but it’s already working so well that we’re looking at expanding it, especially as hospitals have cafeterias with additional potential for container returns.”

Beyond its financial benefits for the Foundation, this initiative aligns perfectly with the broader goal of supporting Canberra Health Services to become more environmentally friendly and contribute to sustainability within the territory.

The staff involved in the trial container recycling program were very excited when they realised the volume of containers that can be collected daily while also supporting patients in the hospitals.

“Individuals just see the one container they put in the recycling bin, but the staff see bins and bins full of containers, so they understand just how many bottles and cans are collected, and the funds that can be generated to help support patients in the hospitals,” Louiza said.

The Canberra Hospital Foundation’s recycling initiative is not just about turning waste into funds, but also about making a positive impact on healthcare and the environment.

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