The Lutheran church and college community of Rockingham Mandurah at the far southern fringe of Perth has raised more than $7000 by collecting bottles and cans for recycling.

The community signed up with the Western Australian Government initiative Containers for Change when it commenced in October 2020. Proceeds from the sale of the bottles and cans they collect are being directed to the maintenance of the chapel, which is owned by the congregation and used by both congregation and college communities.

Recycling bins are placed around the college grounds, including near the chapel and its carpark so that congregation members can easily deposit their bottles and cans on Sundays. Families, friends and neighbours of the Lutheran community are getting on board, too. They simply use the unique ID number when depositing at a recycling centre, and the payment goes directly into the Lutheran community’s bank account.

‘It’s easy, safe and efficient’, said Pastor Steve Liersch, who was a committed recycler when he was serving a congregation in the Adelaide Hills and was keen to introduce the idea to his community in Western Australia.

‘Our participation in the scheme is providing a regular income stream for us’, he said. ‘It’s taking care of the chapel maintenance budget, which is now ticking away on its own.’ So far, the congregation has been able to replace the 20-year-old carpets and blinds, and upgrade the sound system. Their next project is the renovation of the kitchen.

Pastor Liersch encourages all congregations to get on board with recycling. ‘It’s money for nothing’, he said.

There is another clear benefit in being involved in the scheme. Pastor Liersch said that students are learning the environmental benefits of recycling from an early age and can see themselves making a positive difference.

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