Katanning Environmental collected 3.2 million recyclables in the past year for the containers for change scheme, marking its most successful year to date for the group. One recycled piece at a time, the group is reaching broader areas of the Great Southern, making a cleaner and more sustainable region. With the addition of Kojonup this year and Gnowangerup last, the organisation has recycled 8.55 million containers since its infancy three years ago. Chair Matt Collis said the group aimed to beat this year’s total, but the community was the real winner with more than a million dollars being injected back into the region. “3.5 million would have to be the goal next year but we’re just satisfied we’re doing a great job,” Mr Collis said. “The environment is definitely benefiting as are the customers given they get 10¢ for every can or bottle and then what we get paid goes back through the community as well. “Most of it has gone to paying for the storage sheds but we have calculated $1.4 million being put back into the community. “Although some of it is indirect, through paying staff and refunding for recyclables, a lot of people will be benefiting from it.” Mr Collis said he was extremely proud of the group’s growth, however, he did not predict the extent of its success. “I never thought it was gonna be a failure but it has far surpassed my expectations that first year and then it’s only grown from there,” he said. “It’s a testament to our staff, volunteers, and mostly to the community who keep coming every week with sacks, ute loads and stuff like that. “We didn’t know that we were getting Gnowangerup beginning of the year so that helped but our goal always is to beat the year before, which we have done. “I’m very personally proud of it and think it’s one of my greatest achievements.” Katanning has pick-up locations in Gnowangerup and Kojonup, but Mr Collis said people from all corners of the Great Southern are involved in the initiative. “Although we’ve got a backdrop in those three locations and a presence weekly in Katanning and Gnowangerup, we cover a far bigger area,” he said. “We get people from Tambellup, Jerramungup, Ongerup and other isolated towns throughout the region.” Mr Collis was also a finalist for staff volunteer of the year at the Container for Change Changemaker awards held in Perth on Friday, October 13. Over the past three years, the group’s success has led to their team expanding from three volunteers to a workforce of 12 paid staff members. Katanning container cash-in is open on Friday from noon to 4pm, Saturday from 9am to 3pm in Katanning, and Saturday from 9am to 1pm in Gnowangerup.