6 April 2023

'No reason not to' - call for Canberra organisations to sign up to Vinnies' win-win container deposit campaign

| Dione David
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Caitlin Semmler, Rachel Swain, Stuart Davis-Meehan and Stephen Wood put cans in Recollect bins for the Caring for Canberra container deposit scheme.

Caitlin Semmler, Rachel Swain, Stuart Davis-Meehan and Stephen Wood celebrate the launch of the Caring for Canberra container deposit campaign. Photo: Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn.

St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn has partnered with ReCollect to deliver a win-win container deposit to the Canberra region.

Businesses of all sizes, schools, government bodies and community organisations can now sign up for Vinnies’ Caring for Canberra campaign, which aims to reduce container waste and help rebuild the lives of vulnerable people in the process.

It’s free for organisations to participate. ReCollect will pick up the bottles and cans collected in their bins and with the promo code VINNIESCBR the full 10-cent refund per container will be donated to Vinnies.

National Convention Centre Canberra general manager Stephen Wood said participation was a “no-brainer”.

“We’re managed by the InterContinental Hotels Group and they run all their businesses with three core fundamentals called our ‘responsible business principles’ – maintaining a safe business, reducing our impact on the environment and supporting the community,” he explained.

“This campaign supports two of those three pillars. But it is also just a straightforward process for businesses to participate in.

“ReCollect provides the infrastructure and does the pick-ups; there’s no extra labour or cost to you. So it’s really just a small education piece to your staff about what goes in which bin and the registration process, which took a few minutes.”

READ ALSO Charities are doing it tough too: Vinnies launches new fundraising program to cope with rising costs

When the Centre hosts large events, like the recent Ronald McDonald House Canberra gala night, they can donate some 2000 bottles and cans to Vinnies.

“It’s sometimes hard for companies to make an impact by themselves, but through participating in a broader campaign like this, you can be part of a greater thing for the community and environment,” Mr Wood said.

Daramalan College participates for the same reasons, but with the bonus of student education thrown in, according to assistant principal Cheryl Hamill.

The College has been donating to Vinnies through the scheme since its first version, which launched in 2018.

She didn’t have exact numbers, but Ms Hamill reckoned the College had diverted many thousands of cans and bottles in the five or so years since.

Back then, the school’s student-run environmental group facilitated by teacher Caitlin Semmler would diligently sort through the contents of the bins to ensure only the proper containers were diverted, bag them and drop them off themselves to Vinnies in Dickson.

The new campaign, in which ReCollect collects the containers, was more streamlined, but Ms Hamill says the environmental group would maintain their involvement.

“There has always been good uptake with the students but they didn’t always get it perfectly right,” she said.

“Sometimes you’d find non-compliant recycling in the Vinnies bins, or recycling in the general waste bins. But that’s where education and the environmental group come in.”

It was as much an education and engagement opportunity for the College as it was to do some good for the environment and vulnerable members of the community.

As the school introduces students to the new campaign, they have a chance to revitalise these teachings.

“The launch of the new campaign gives us the impetus to run a fresh campaign with the students, remind them of the process, what goes in which bin and how it will benefit people less fortunate than ourselves,” she said.

“The new bins have locks on them which is fantastic. They also have a small hole in the middle, making it clearer what kinds of containers go in.

“Our teacher and facilitator of the environmental group, Caitlin Semmler, is attending assemblies to onboard students in the new process.”

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Ms Hamill said the initiative ticked a lot of boxes for the College.

“It combines two key factors in the College ethos that we’re passionate about – educating the next generation on caring for creation (the environment) and social justice,” she said.

“Vinnies does great work helping vulnerable people get a hand up in life and we’re so pleased that we and our students can support that.

“The new process makes it so easy, so there’s really no reason not to participate. It’s something we can all do to save waste from landfill but also help other people more vulnerable than ourselves.”

For more information or to register your business or organisation for the Caring for Canberra campaign, visit Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn.

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I find this absurd.

We’re paying charities to do waste collection now?
Surely its more efficent for government to fund charties and collect the containers using actual recycling trucks as they were paid to collect alread.

Capital Retro9:16 pm 11 Apr 23

Vinnies, like the Salvos is a very big business.

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