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"Cans For Koalas" recycling appeal helps Australian wildlife recover from devastating bushfires

AUSTRALIA: More than 1 billion animals perished as a result of devastating bushfires and months of drought in Australia, and millions of other animals have been left homeless. World Wildlife Fund – Australia joined together to launch the “Cans for Koalas” recycling fundraising appeal to, help Australian wildlife recover from these disasters.

24 September 2020

It is truly incredible to see partners like TOMRA and people from all over Australia banding together to protect our wildlife and wild places.

Dermot O'Gorman, CEO, WWF-Australia



The aftermath of the shocking bushfires and drought of the 2019-2020 summer season in Australia destroyed an estimated 18 million hectares of land across the country. Nearly 3 billion native vertebrates were within the forests and woodlands that burned – including 143 million mammals, 2.46 billion reptiles, 180 million birds, and 51 million frogs. The total estimated cost of recovery and reparation of property damage and economic losses is over AU$ 103 billion.


The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an international environmental organization with a network in more than 100 countries, and is Australia's most trusted conservation organization. WWF-Australia has deployed $AU30 million in emergency funds for the immediate care of wildlife due to the extensive damage. In February 2020, TOMRA launched a recycling appeal to support and provide ongoing care to the recovery of wildlife through local deposit return systems for drink container recycling. The initiative enabled Australian recyclers the option to donate their 10-cent beverage container refund by selecting “Cans for Koalas” on any TOMRA reverse machine across Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory until 23rd August 2020. 100% of donations went to WWF-Australia and helped restore affected habitats of iconic local species such as koalas, kangaroos, kookaburras, and other wildlife. “Cans for Koalas” followed on from the previous donation program, “Bottles for the Bush”, which was created to support regional communities affected by ongoing bushfires and drought.

Ryan Buzzell, President of TOMRA Collections Solutions Australia, is positive about the achievements of the recycling appeal. “Following the recent success of our Bottles for the Bush campaign – which saw us double our original $250,000 donation target  combined with the popularity of container deposit schemes, we are hopeful that this initiative will engage the community and exceed our fund-raising expectations,” he explains.


TOMRA`s partnership with WWF-Australia offered Australians the unique opportunity to donate their beverage containers to aid ongoing care and revitalize wildlife. “The devastation caused by these bushfires is unprecedented and the recovery work ahead is immense,” Dermot O'Gorman, CEO of WWF-Australia, said. “Cans for Koalas” raised $173,000 for the recovery process for WWF-Australia's Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund by the end of August 2020. The total amount is equivalent to 1,737,910 empty drink bottles and cans returned and their refunds donated. The accumulated donations could help provide the equivalent of over 11,500 bandages and medicine for injured koalas, or, could help prepare the release of over 8600 koalas back into the wild or plant over 5,700 corridors of trees between threatened koala habitats. “'Cans for Koalas' will help us continue to respond to affected wildlife and deliver long-term plans and actions to restore what has been lost,” Dermot O'Gorman adds.