Irwin Shire refund point decision leads to cash injection

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Liam BeattyMidwest Times
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Shire of Irwin administration offices
Camera IconShire of Irwin administration offices Credit: Geoff Vivian The Geraldton Guardian

A decision by the Irwin Shire last year to set up and operate its own Containers for Change refund point has resulted in an unexpected financial windfall for the Shire’s coffers.

At the Shire’s ordinary council meeting in February, CEO Shane Ivers said the take-up from residents around the Mid West had been phenomenal, with up to 50,000 containers dropped off weekly.

“Originally, we were expecting the operation to break even,” he said.

“But the uptake has been great and it now looks to be going the other way.”

Since the scheme opened in October, the Irwin refund point has processed 636,000 containers, which Mr Ivers said translated to almost $50,000 in revenue.

“If the trend continues over a 12-month period, we’re looking at more than $100,000 revenue for the Shire. So it’s quite substantial,” he said.

As a result, the Shire is planning an expansion of the refund point, which operates in the Dongara Recycling Centre.

Shire infrastructure and development manager Peter Traylen said the success of the scheme was a “good news story” for the Shire, with a significant amount of money flowing into the budget and to the local community.

“We’re negotiating to move the tip shop and make more room for the refund point. I’ll report back on that as we go on,” he told councillors at the meeting.

Since the scheme began, the number of containers dropped off daily has doubled, with community organisations travelling from as far away as Three Springs to collect their 10¢-per-container refund.

The Shire is one of 15 local governments which operate refund points across WA.

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