Winners of the 2022 Change Maker of the Year Award!

MR Refund is your local Containers for Change Refund Point, operated by Marc and Jackie Dickson. They run the Margaret River depot and Cowaramup bag drop, plus a couple of other sites in the South West.

MR Refund has received recognition for their incredible success helping divert drink containers away from landfill.  At this year’s Change Maker awards MR Refund took out not only the Medium Refund Point Operator of the Year award but also the top prize: Change Maker of the Year award!  Out of 94 operators and 263 refund points in the state this is an impressive honour.

What’s the big deal?

In an average week MR Refund collects, sorts and counts roughly 100,000 containers through their Margaret River site.  That’s a lot of beverages our community manages to consume, and it doesn’t even include milk or wine bottles! The great news is that, as part of the container deposit scheme, each of these containers has generated 10c into the hands of locals…and this adds up.  In the two years MR Refund has been operating they’ve recycled 15 million drink containers, putting $1.5 million back into the local community.

In the two years MR Refund has been operating they’ve recycled 15 million drink containers, putting $1.5 million back into the local community.

When you drop your containers into one of their sites you have the option of earning the refund yourself or choosing to donate to a local community group. “Our community is very generous,” says owner Jackie Dickson. “They often donate to one of over 60 local groups registered for a Member Number”.

Our community puts 9% of what is dropped off back into local charities, community groups and clubs. That’s $135,000 over the last two years to help support these groups! But don’t feel guilty if you decide to keep the refund yourself (and put it towards local Christmas presents). There are other benefits apart from all that sweet refund money.

Changing the way we think about waste

Each glass bottle recycled through Containers for Change is turned back into a bottle. It’s a bottle-to-bottle scheme. Compared to the yellow bins, where only around 11% becomes bottles and the rest is repurposed for road base, this helps keep this precious resource delivering its greatest value. The yellow recycling bins are a great option too, but by source separating this prolific “waste” stream MR Refund can achieve maximum environmental value as a circular economy input.

“Making glass uses a lot of resources. The carbon impact of recycling through Containers for Change versus using virgin material is equivalent to taking 25,000 cars off the road in WA alone” says Marc.

The discerning reader might be thinking that the best environmental outcome would be to simply consume less packaged beverages – and you’d be right – but we are always going to generate some containers so keeping them in a closed loop is a great next best option.  At the peak of summer MR Refund processes up to 300,000 containers a week, and sees a sharp rise in the number of single-use water bottles.  If there’s one easy way to improve your impact it’s avoid buying single-use water – just fill your own water bottle – and for all those other beverages make sure you take them to a Container Refund point.

Within the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, MR Refund has drop off sites at Margaret River (22 Kinsella Rd) and Cowaramup (39 Miamup Rd, at the Men’s Shed Car Park), and Augusta residents can take their containers to the Leeuwin Lions Recycling Centre at 1 Hillview Rd.

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