19 January 2022

Canberra gets its first reverse vending machine for recyclable container deposits

| Lottie Twyford
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ACT container deposit scheme reverse vending machine in Erindale

The ACT’s first reverse vending machine for the container deposit scheme is now operational in Erindale. Photo: ACT Government.

The ACT’s first reverse vending machine, which takes recyclable containers and returns money, has just opened in Erindale.

Similar to the Return and Earn system already in full operation across NSW, Canberrans will be able to drop off their intact and non-crushed cans and bottles at the machine and receive an immediate refund for them.

ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the machine is being tested at Erindale to see if Canberrans find it a convenient alternative to the existing collection shopfronts and drop-off points around town.

There are now 20 locations around Canberra where eligible containers can be deposited.

Containers are automatically counted by the machine and the refund is deposited into a user’s account.

ACT container deposit scheme reverse vending machine in Erindale

The reverse vending machine in Erindale can hold 8000 containers at one time and only takes 10 minutes to be emptied. Photo: ACT Government.

“Canberrans are doing a great job of recycling their containers, with more than 298 million returned since the scheme began in 2018,” said Mr Steel.

“[But] there are still many containers that are not being recycled through the scheme and we are looking at ways to make it more convenient and accessible to the public to get their deposit back.”

Most drink containers that are eligible under the ACT container deposit scheme are those that are commonly found in the litter stream. These include most glass, plastic, aluminium, steel and paper-based cartons that are between 150 millilitres and three litres.

Mr Steel noted the reverse vending machine is being trialled in response to feedback from Canberrans who have seen the machines used across the border in NSW and said they would like to try and use them in the ACT.

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In NSW, the Return and Earn program has had almost seven billion containers returned at 624 collection points across the state.

The trial return point in Erindale will be open seven days a week, with onsite customer assistance from 9 am to 5:30 pm daily for the first three months.

The machine is capable of holding up to 8000 intact and non-crushed containers at once and takes only 10 minutes to be emptied.

“Next time you’re returning eligible containers in the Tuggeranong region, try out the Erindale reverse vending machine to get 10 cents back per container while helping the environment at the same time,” said Mr Steel.

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It differs slightly from the NSW model, and before Canberrans use the return point they will have to set up an account online.

At the reverse vending machine, scan the QR code, which will recognise your Return-It account and let you start redeeming containers.

Then simply follow the sorting instructions – specify either ‘glass’ or ‘all other material’ types. Once redeemed, payments will be made online via your Return-It account.

The reverse vending machine trial will run for six months and will inform the future use of the technology in the ACT.

For more information, visit ACT Container Deposit Scheme.

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Not very useful when you have to leave with cans that it refused to scan. It seemed to reject 15% of them on first try, then another 5-6 tries will get half of those ones through, then the remainder we tried over 20 times and it still refused. They weren’t any different to the others it accepted.

Capital Retro6:27 pm 24 Jan 22

Another ACT government “pop-up” failure.

Capital Retro10:26 am 23 Jan 22

How much did this virtue signaling folly cost us?

And it has taken up valuable parking spaces. I’ll bet Rattenborough doesn’t shop at Erindale.

CR, I’m not sure that he’s been this far south? There’s no Light Rail planned for Erindale!

Why didn’t they place this large reverse vending machine on the edge of the car park, where it would have taken up less car parks?

Capital Retro9:59 pm 24 Jan 22

Well, it’s the first one and it’s a failure so they don’t want all of Canberra to know about it so it doesn’t matter really where they placed it.

It will disappear quietly.

Capital Retro4:03 pm 25 Apr 22

The Erindale Reverse Vending Machine had to be hooked up to a PETROL generator today.

“Reverse” is the operative word.

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