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Albany students’ container recycling business reaping rewards as demand grows

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Albany Secondary Education Support Centre students and staff Chrissy Edwards, Ka The Moo, Todd McSweeney, Liam Walker, Paul Lionetti, Jonty Cattanach, Toby Wiseman, Jake Butler, Jonathon Killey, Andy Chisholm, Lexx Tilbrook and Amanda Wetherell.
Camera IconAlbany Secondary Education Support Centre students and staff Chrissy Edwards, Ka The Moo, Todd McSweeney, Liam Walker, Paul Lionetti, Jonty Cattanach, Toby Wiseman, Jake Butler, Jonathon Killey, Andy Chisholm, Lexx Tilbrook and Amanda Wetherell. Credit: Sarah Makse/ Albany Advertiser

A student-driven recycling business has gone from strength to strength over the past year collecting thousands of containers to raise funds for community causes and their school.

Albany Secondary Education Support Centre students launched ASESC Rec Collection last year to collect and sort local businesses’ recycling through WA’s container deposit scheme.

Students started by collecting containers from ASESC and North Albany Senior High School and have since acquired a list of clients including the City of Albany and Albany Health Campus.

The students make weekly rounds to local businesses honing their communication and customer service skills.

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They work with the Green Skills team at the container deposit warehouse to organise and refund the containers.

Students have also designed a logo, uniforms and signage for their enterprise, as well as writing business cases and liaising with clients.

All the containers collected from the campus help fund school initiatives and build the business, while cash from containers collected in the community — 75 per cent overall — are donated to charity.

Albany Secondary Education Support Centre students Ka The Moo, Todd McSweeney and Toby Wiseman load up a container collection.
Camera IconAlbany Secondary Education Support Centre students Ka The Moo, Todd McSweeney and Toby Wiseman load up a container collection. Credit: Sarah Makse/ Albany Advertiser

The group are getting ready to present a cheque to Disabled Surfers Association Great Southern at their final school assembly.

Year 11 student Jonathon Killey, 16, said he was proud to be giving back to his community.

“My favourite part is running the business and raising charity for DSAGS and helping Albany keep clean and safe,” he said.

“It is a really great program and some of our students collect containers out in their free time to help with the business and we go to different locations in Albany to collect containers and we go to Green Skills to sort them out.”

Topping off their first year of success, the school was named a finalist in the Containers For Change Change Maker Awards last month. Teacher Jake Butler said the business had been great for the students with one being employed at Green Skills since leaving school.

“What has been amazing is it has just been growing naturally by word-of-mouth,” he said.

“There are smaller businesses learning about it through our signage and getting in touch. We are getting to the point where we are kind of at maximum capacity.

“We will need to start turning people away soon which is amazing.”

Mr Butler said the students were now fundraising to buy a business trailer because their minivan was no longer big enough for their weekly pick-ups.

“There is plenty in the pipeline for future years,” he said.

“We want to keep that momentum going by expanding.

“We love those learning opportunities where we can actually design or reach out to new clients and really be a part of building the business.”

Donations can be made at a 24/7 container drop off bin located outside ASESC on Anson Road.

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