Western Australia’s Containers for Change Scheme was a government initiative designed to improve recycling rates, provide jobs for the community and present charities with an opportunity to fundraise. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Scheme’s launch date has been postponed.

Containers for Change was originally due to start on June 2nd, 2020. After hearing advice from scheme coordinator WA Return Recycle Renew Ltd, the McGowan Government has postponed the launch and will review the situation in August. After this, a decision will be made whether the scheme will re-launch in either November 2020 or June 2021.

While putting the initiative on hold is certainly a disappointment, the launch date would coincide at a time when medical experts suggest that COVID-19 cases would peak. The people employed under the scheme such as the disabled, elderly and Indigenous are in the group classified as a greater risk for infection. The closures of restaurants, clubs, pubs, schools and any other venues using recyclable containers regularly would have also affected the amount of materials gathered to be taken to the recycling points.

Environment Minister Steve Dawson stated the following: “The McGowan Government, in close consultation with WARRRL and DWER, determined that under the COVID-19 environment we are all faced with, there are too many potential health risks and logistical difficulties to start the scheme on June 2, 2020…We will continue to work together and update the community, operators and suppliers throughout this period of uncertainty.”