First Donation Station for ACT Container Deposit Scheme trialled at ANU

Australian National University (ANU) is home to an innovative new return point for the ACT Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), accepting bottles and cans for donation to charity. 

The digital smart bin at ANU is a self-contained donation station that uses existing ACT CDS return point technology and infrastructure.

The smart bin features a barcode scanner that checks if a drink container is eligible for a refund before it accepts it and won’t open for an ineligible item, ensuring we collect only those drink containers eligible under the ACT Container Deposit Scheme.

The ANU donation station is the latest in the network of 22 return points across the Territory but the only return point where the refund from all the containers returned will be donated to charity. To date 4,518 containers have been returned through the smart bin.

The smart bin has capacity to hold approximately 600 drink containers at a time with the refunds from donated containers going to support two charities – the ACT Conservation Council and ANU Thrive.

The ACT Conservation Council is a not-for-profit environmental organisation focused on protecting the natural environment and communities and ANU Thrive is a student-led initiative to support student and community development opportunities

“Since launching in June 2018, the ACT CDS has been a resounding success, with over 451 million containers returned for recycling through both the network of return points and containers collected via kerbside and over $24 million in container refunds before returned to the ACT community,” said Danielle Smalley, CEO of scheme coordinator Exchange for Change.

The scheme is also contributing to a growing domestic circular economy with all glass and plastic bottles collected through the network are recycled into new bottles and food grade packaging in Australia.

“We know the ACT Container Deposit Scheme is delivering strong benefits to the environment with less containers ending up in landfill and instead contributing to a growing local circular economy.

“And through initiatives like this donation station and the countless ACT CDS fundraising ‘bottle drives’ happening across Canberra, we know the scheme is also delivering strong social and economic benefits to the community,” said Ms Smalley.

Check out the ANU donation station located on the first floor of the Marie Reay Teaching Centre. It will be in place for an initial six-month trial.

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