To increase beverage container recycling in public places, 71 local communities across Australia have been awarded a Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) community grant. 

The KAB community grants program, funded by Coca-Cola, is now in its fourth year. It provides financial aid to local community projects that demonstrate a measurable result in diverting beverage containers out of landfill, through increased recycling at a local level. 

The Recycling Bin Grant Program has provided over $440,000 in funding for the 2013 projects, with grant recipients including community groups, councils and schools from across Australia.

Last year’s program resulted in 274 tonnes of beverage containers being recovered and around 1380 new recycling bins being installed in public places nationally.

“For many people, the barrier to recycling when they are out and about is simply due to a lack of recycling bins in public places”, says Keep Australia Beautiful National Executive, Peter McLean.

“When you consider that recycling 1 tonne of glass saves 1.1 tonnes of raw materials and 30% energy use, and recycling one plastic drink bottle saves enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes, it’s clear we need the right infrastructure in place to assist people with recycling”, he added.

Since the community grants program started, over $1.24 million has been distributed to over 190 projects which has aided almost 3 million people to recycle their bottles and cans in public places.

Grants have been distributed for a broad range of projects to recipients as diverse as the Islanders Board of Industry and Service in Bamaga and Thursday Island (IBIS) in Queensland.

IBIS operates 18 supermarkets throughout the Torres Strait and Northern Penninsula Area (Cape York) on 14 islands and 1 mainland site.  They are the major reseller of soft drinks and water in Torres Strait and calculations are that in excess of 710,000 of containerised drinks are sold through IBIS stores annually and growing.

IBIS worked out that they could recycle over 14 tonnes of aluminium cans and PET bottles per year by expanding its current recycling efforts.

With the help of the community grants program they will establish a total recycling process including the collection, crushing and return of aluminium cans, glass and PET bottles.

Public Affairs and Communication Manager, Michelle Allen says “we’re really excited to see such a range of projects this year, many of which will see the introduction of recycling in new areas.”

The University of Western Australia was also given a grant this year to install dual stream waste housings on the campus grounds to include recycling bins with general waste. The installation of these housings will be followed by an educational campaign, focussed on improving the knowledge of recycling amongst staff, students and visitors.

Peter McLean states, “By providing the funding that allows local communities to implement the recycling systems specific to their needs, collectively KAB has recovered a total of 340 tonnes of beverage containers for recycling since the program started.”