Canberra ACT Australia

local kids out and about in their suburbs recycling, reusing and returning


If you're a school age kid, we can help you start making a difference in your local suburb and earn some money along the way.

Ways you can make a difference

Start Your Own Small Business


Using your own bike and a home made trailer, a few milk crates and a bit of help from Mum or Dad, you can start your very own business! 

Help our Partners


We want to broaden the range of partners Canberra kids collect for.  If you know of a new venture or initiative that needs our help, please let us know.

Share Your Story


Great stories & success inspire us! See how other Canberra Kids are changing recycling habits in their suburb and tell us your story.

(As the community of Canberra kids collecting grows we are building a page specifically for your stories!!)

Collecting at your School


A recycling venture using the ACT Container Deposit Scheme can help build community in your school, change recycling habits and raise some serious money for a community endeavour or school need.  

Collecting starts at home


There are many items we dispose of everyday that can be reused or recycled, some even returned for cash.  Either way, don't throw them away!

Question's about Collecting


Not sure where to take your containers?  Want to know which ones are eligible for a 10c refund?  Check out our most frequently asked questions and answers.  


so, you want to start your own small business...

Things to Think About

Your local neighbourhood can be a great place to learn new skills and start your own small business but there are a few things you need to think about before you start:

  1. Can you ride your bike easily around the streets safely?  Is there bike paths you can use?  Should you walk with a trolley instead?
  2. Are there any other kids already collecting nearby?  Try gather your very own customers.
  3. How many streets and how many neighbours will you start with?  Stay close to home.
  4. Is there a Common Bin Area near your house belonging to a group of townhouses or retirement village?  You could approach them to ask if you can leave a crate or check their yellow bins regularly.
  5. Have you got a safe way to transport all the glass, cans and plastic folks might give you.  Glass can get heavy!  A strong trailer behind your bike is a great idea. 
  6. How much time do you have after school or on a weekend for your small business?  You need to be sure you can pick up from your customers every single week and only change that arrangement once in a while.
  7. Get Mum and/or Dad involved.  If you're under 12 you should have Mum or Dad or a big sister or brother walk with you for your letterbox drop or door knocking.  Meeting your neighbours in person is a great way to introduce yourself and good customer service.

Ready, Set, Go!

  • Mum & Dad have said Yes 
  • You've got some wheels
  • You've got time each week
  • Someone can take you or your containers to a return depo
  • You've chosen a neighbourhood area to start collecting from.
  • You're really keen!

How to Use Express Points to return containers

James shows you how to Bag, Drop and Go!

How to Deposit Containers at the depot

Here's a quick look at bringing your containers into a depot for ancash refund!

How to return containers unsorted and fast!!!

James shows you the fastest and easiest way to return your containers for instant cash!

James hard at work

See how James started Cans in Crates  and what a Saturday round of collecting looks like!!!                                             #Beyourownboss

Publicity and news


ACT Container Deposit Scheme News

ACT CDS recently celebrated 12 months of operation.  James was invited to cut the anniversary cake and join in the celebrations.

New Automated Counting System

Minister for Transport & City Services, Chris Steel officially launched the new container return system which halves the time to make deposits and provides an instant cash refund.

Young Trailblazer wins Young Canberra Citizen of the Year 2019

At just 13 years of age, James Jayatilaka was awarded Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Award (Environment & Sustainability Category) for his initiative, Cans in Crates in the suburb of Bruce.  The Award recognises individuals and groups of young people aged between 12 and 25 years who have made a significant contribution through their personal endeavours or who have been actively involved in the ACT community.  

National Recycling Week 2019

James and his Mum, Jodie officially launch Canberra Kids Collecting.  Keen to pay it forward to the community and inspire more kids to take advantage of the container deposit scheme and start their own small businesses.  The Riot-Act runs a story about James twelve months on from starting his own business, Cans in Crates.



Frequently Asked Questions


Which Containers are eligible for a 10c refund?

  • The 10c Refundable Deposit was established to reduce waste and encourage good recycling habits.  Setting aside these containers and returning them to a designated depot helps generate cleaner recycling which is more usable and saleable in the marketplace both nationally and globally.

  • The ACT Container Deposit Scheme provides more details on what is currently returnable for a 10c refund.  Scroll down their How To Return It page on the link below to see the list of eligible containers.  

  • Basically, milk bottles and wine bottles are NOT refundable. 

Where can I return my containers for the 10c refund?

  • Check the link below for addresses and opening hours.

  • There are CDS Bulk Depots at Fyshwick & Mitchell where you can receive cash on the spot.   At these depots you currently need to sort your containers before depositing (Separate glass, cans and plastics.  Don't crush cans.  Sort glass by colour.  Remove all lids before depositing)  

  • At the CDS Bulk Depot in Dundas Court, Phillip there is now a fast, fully automated return point where machines sort the items for you.  Just separate glass from all other containers.  Remove lids.  It will even accept crushed cans and bottles without bar codes.  You also receive cash on the spot from the Reverse ATM. 

  • Other Return It Points are located all over Canberra including most Vinnies Stores where you can leave your full bags after setting up an account. Money is deposited into your nominated account within a few days.  

Can I crush the cans?

Yes and No.  It depends where you are returning them.  Only the Phillip Depot accepts crushed cans.

Why do I need to sort the containers?

Containers need to be separated and sorted to avoid contamination in the recycling process.   Different products are sold to different end-users for different functions.  Buyers and manufacturers are only interested in buying Clean Materials - that means not mixed product or colour.

Automated Chutes at the Bulk Depot in Phillip

If you are returning containers to the Bulk Depot in Dundas Court, Phillip you only need to separate glass from all other containers.  There are two separate chutes.  A glass return chute and an "everything else" chute.  The glass will be crushed and reused.  The machines will automatically separate the cans, plastic and paperboard.

Why do I need to remove the lids?

Lids4Kids would love your lids. Don't throw them away!! 

Lids cause break downs in the machines and ought be collected separately.  They are collected on mass and ground by Lids for Kids here in Canberra, transported to Envision, Victoria where they are manufactured into prosthetic limbs right here in Australia!  See our Partners Link for more details.

community working together - our Partners



Lids4Kids is a local initiative right here in Canberra.  They collect plastic drink bottle lids to be turned into artificial limbs for kids through the work of Envision in Victoria.

Set aside your lids and donate to Lids4Kids.  See link for eligible lids.

The Green Shed

You can currently deposit all your 10c eligible containers at The Green Shed in Mitchell or Hume.  All proceeds from deposits here are donated to OzHarvest.

ACT Container Deposit Scheme

The ACT Container Deposit Scheme can also help you with Community Fundraising.  Click on the link for more details of how they can help your group or school.

Need our help???

New Initiative???

Upcoming Events???

We like to spread the word about Canberra Kids Collecting and not only get more kids out and about but also spread the word about our partners and build the recycling community.  If you know of a partner who could benefit from our help or an upcoming community event where we could hold a stall, please let us know.

How to Start Your Own Small Business

Step 1: Trailer or Trolley?


How will you transport your containers?

Here are some things to think about:

  • Safety First:  Bike paths are safer than roads. Glass is heavy.  Bottles can break.
  • Do you have hills to ride or walk up and down? What will make it easiest for you to collect containers?  Walking or riding, pushing or pulling?  Don't make it too hard for yourself.  You have to do it every week!
  • How far do you have to ride or walk from your home? Keep it nearby to start and expand later.
  • How much time do you want to spend on this job each week? 
  • Will you sort the containers as you collect them or once you get back home?
  • Do you plan to visit one customer or many? A nearby retirement village or townhouse complex could make your job very easy. Be sure to ask them first.

James' Tips:

  • Start with just a few customers. Over a few weeks you will get to know how cans and bottles they give you.
  • Don't overload your trailer or trolley. Cleaning up broken glass from a spill on the street is no fun at all.
  • Sort as you go is quicker if you set up your trailer with buckets or boxes.
  • Taking off the lids as you go is quicker too.

Step 2: Create a Name


What will you call your little business?

Here are some things to think about:

  • You need to make up your very own name.  
  • You can't use someone else's.
  • A name for your business should be short and tell people what you do. It will be your "logo".
  • It can be something catchy or rhyme.
  • Choose a name people will remember easily.
  • It can include your first name if you want.
  • No one else should use your business name.
  • Be sure you're happy with it - you mustn't change it once you give out your flyers.
  • Pick a style or font you like.

James' Tips:

  • Keep it short and snappy.
  • Take your time.
  • Ask for ideas from family or friends.
  • Draw, paint or colour your logo and take a photo to use later on your flyer.
  • Have fun with it!
  • Please don't use Cans in Crates, thats James' business name.


Step 3: Pick Your Location


Where will you collect containers?

Here are some things to think about:

  • You'll need to collect from most people every week so don't go too far from home.
  • Two or three large customers is easier to look after than many small customers.
  • Start in your own street and then the closest streets to home.
  • Pick streets that you can safely ride to and from. 
  • Check the location with your mum or dad.
  • Don't ride on main roads.  Use bike paths as much as possible.
  • Retirement Villages:  Go and ask the Manager if you can put some crates next to their recycling bins with a plastic covered flyer above and ask them to share in their Newsletter what you are doing.  Ask if you can put your flyer in all the letterboxes. Let them know what day you plan to collect.
  • Townhouses & Units:  Ask if you can place a couple of crates near the recycling bins and if you can put your flyer in their letterboxes explaining what you're doing.

James Tips:

  • Stay close to home.
  • Better to add more customers later than miss some because its too much work for you each week.
  • Try and collect containers the same time every week.  Customers like routine !!!
  • Be sure to tell your customers if you go away or can't collect at any time.

Step 4: Make a Flyer


What, When, How, Why and Who all needs to be included on your flyer.

  • What:  tell your customer what containers you want to collect from them.
  • When:  tell them what day and how often you plan to collect.
  • How:  explain what you want them to do and what you will do. Keep it short and simple.
  • Why:  say why you are collecting containers.  You can tell them you will get 10c for every container and what you hope to use the money for - what is your goal?  You can also tell them where the containers go and what they will be used for.
  • Who:  tell them a little bit about who you are.  Just your first name, your logo and how they can contact you.

James' Tips:

  • Pick bright colours and large fonts for your flyer.
  • Keep it simple and easy to read.  Be clear.
  • Make sure you include contact information.  A mobile for texting is easiest.
  • A5 is a good size to give people.  It's not too big and not too small.
  • If you use cardboard, you could put a magnet on the back so they can stick it on their fridge.
  • You want neighbours to like it and keep it.

Step 5: Door Knock/Letterboxes


Will you hand deliver your flyer or just put them in letterboxes?

  • Ask your Mum or Dad what they think is best?
  • Door knocking is better than putting flyers in letterboxes.  It lets people meet you and you can explain in person what you are trying to do. 
  • People get lots of paper in letterboxes and might throw your flyer away.
  • Always have an adult go with you.
  • You can't door knock at a Retirement Village without permission first.
  • If you are going to door knock, most people are home after work or on weekends.
  • If neighbours say "Yes" they will help, ask them for their name and a contact number to keep in touch.  Note their name next to their address in a notebook.  You'll be delivering a crate later.

James' Tips:

  • Door Knocking can be a little scary at first.  It gets easier once you meet a couple of neighbours.  
  • Start with neighbours you already know.
  • Don't feel bad if neighbours say "No".  They just don't want to give you their containers or maybe they don't have any. They're not saying they don't like you!
  • Don't put flyers in letterboxes that say "No Junk Mail".  
  • Keep a list of which houses you have door knocked.
  • Keep a list of which houses you gave a flyer to.  You don't want to do the job twice.

Step 6: Deliver Crates


Deliver the crates.

  • When you have a new customer, tell them when you will bring them a crate and ask if you can place it next to their recycling bin.
  • Tell them which day will be your first collection.
  • Never go in peoples back yards.  Most people leave their yellow bin near the front of the house somewhere.
  • If their bin is in their backyard, ask them to put the crate on the curb or in front of their garage once a week on the day you collect.

James' Tips:

  • If the crate is near their yellow bin they are more likely to sort their recycling and put 10c containers in your crate.
  • Bags are a waste of time in crates.  They break and get wet.  Just empty the crate straight into your trailer or trolley.