Time-poor businesses and households will be able to have their redeemable containers collected with the launch on Wednesday of a new phone app described as the Uber of recycling.
Recycling management company ReGroup’s Return-It Collect App will allow businesses and households for a fee of 4 cents a container to order a pick-up for the ACT’s Container Deposit Scheme.
City Services Minister Chris Steel said the new free app, which has been successfully trialled in Kingston and Gordon, would help people who might not have the time or the means to drop off their eligible containers at a return point.
The containers can be handed over in person or left in a safe place for the driver to collect.
He said the app would be particularly useful for businesses such as bars, hotels and restaurants which had large volumes of containers, especially bottles.
“We want to increase the number of containers deposited and we recognise that getting local business involved and making it easier for them to return large amounts of containers is the most logical way of doing this,” Mr Steel said.
“Having a collection service is a great way for business to return containers without the hassle of their staff driving potentially thousands of containers to the return points each week.”
The app operates a similar way to ride-sharing services, so users get real-time updates on when the driver will be arriving, when their containers have been collected and when they’ve been counted.
ReGroup managing director David Singh said the app allowed people to redeem the deposits on the containers without leaving their home or business.
He said it was being launched in Canberra because Canberrans are passionate recyclers and early adopters of technology, like Uber. “It’s the Uber for recycling,” he said.
The service would start with containers but hoped to also include mobile phones and textiles soon.
Mr Singh said the service would also help charities by allowing their supporters to have containers picked up and deposits remitted to a particular organisation.
He said ReGroup had divided Canberra into six segments and pick-ups would initially be weekly but that frequency would increase as the service grew.
Business take-up was high during the trials and a couple of Canberra-based hotel groups had already joined up to use the service across the city.
Return-It Collect will also allow users to track their environmental impact, in terms of energy and greenhouse gas savings as well as reducing waste to landfill.
Similar to the Express bag drop collection points across the ACT, customers need to ensure their containers are in a sturdy bag so that they can be transported back to the depot.
Over 41 million containers have been returned the ACT CDS network since it began in June 2018.
For more information, including container eligibility, on how to use and download Return-It Collect, visit www.returnitcollect.com.au.