Monday Motivation #04 – Cash For Cans Update and The Juice From SA

I spotted him from a long way off, furtively rummaging through the street bin looking for any deposit containers to stash in his bag. They have a particular look – time is money, lots of bins to cover, gotta beat the next guy.

I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia so the concept of a container deposit scheme [introduced in 1977] is a no-brainer to me. Dad was even understanding when I preferred to bag around $7 in gold-tops at a cricket test match at the Adelaide oval in 1978. No idea who won, but I certainly remember the thrill of cash for effort… a few blokes even sculled their beers so I could get the can ; >

I was lucky enough to head back there for the Anzac weekend with my boys and when I saw this guy rummaging through the bin a design idea hit me… but before I get to that an update on where things are at nationally.

We’re in the midst of a classic people Vs corporate battle right now. In April alone – NT had one, then they didn’t [by court order], now they do again [by court order, again]. This is brilliant stuff that would have had Shakespeare doing a jig. As I read it, the recent shenanigans in court have paved the way for other States to get cracking with their own schemes, but the deal isn’t done yet – it needs the weight of voter sentiment to keep the momentum.

Here we are almost 40 years after SA worked it out, and we’re debating whether or not this should go national.

I’ve grown up with seeing needy people make a few ends meet by cashing in on containers, and I now paddle the waterways of Sydney and see bottles all the time [part of the culture is to bring ’em home]… unfortunately for some of our wildlife it’s the last thing they see.

If you think it would be cool to remove the ‘when sold in SA’ from our containers; if you think it would be cool to reduce waste to landfill, Council costs, waterway pollution and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch; if you think it would be ok to let people make a few extra bucks from deposit containers, then let your pollies know. You can sign an easy petition using the link below [click on image].

It’s the only way they can know which side to fight for.

Photo: This sad photo was taken on the Cooks River, Sydney Tuesday April 16! It only shows a short section of the river that was covered in bottles, cans & litter. Ministers are starting to listen and we can't stop petitioning until we win! Share this far and wide. Do it for the birds!

If you want to find the most current information on this challenge, you can find it at, or Clean Up Australia’s Facebook page.

So when I saw this guy up to his shoulder groping for containers, I wondered why SA can’t just have open cage bins adjacent, for deposit containers only. No liner needed, no covering, no lid, no formal emptying. Surely it’s designable and buildable. [and don’t get me going on ‘cost’ – it’s workable and there’s no rush]. I’m sure I recall seeing these at sports matches in SA. Surely we could accommodate these into street furniture once the scheme goes national. The people who want to return these containers to the resource stream could do with a little help.

So, if you have any feelings about this [and I’m sure you will one way or the other], think about the petition, voice your support to your local Council, and in the interim have a think about what brands of drinks you buy – nothing moves mountains like supply and demand…


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