BIG EARNER: Deposited bottles are stacked into bins at the rear of the 'Return and Earn' recycling stations
BIG EARNER: Deposited bottles are stacked into bins at the rear of the 'Return and Earn' recycling stations Tweed Daily News

Recycling scheme hits two billion

PASSIONATE recyclers can rejoice in the news a new recycling scheme has passed a major milestone.

Despite resistance for many years, the NSW Government introduced the Return and Earn scheme in December 2017 and now over two billion containers have been recycled.

Minister for Environment Matt Kean said NSW communities have embraced the litter reduction program, returning an average of four million containers per day.

"Return and Earn has been a phenomenal success and has fundamentally changed people's behaviour and thinking around litter," Mr Kean said.

"The people of NSW have helped us achieve a 57 per cent reduction in eligible drink container litter volume since Return and Earn started."

"Millions of people - one in every two adults in NSW - have changed their everyday recycling patterns and are doing their bit to reduce litter and collect their 10 cent refund."

The scheme was also helping deliver sizeable donations to local community groups who received money if those recycling chose to donate rather than receive a cash refund.

Groups are chosen from a list of not-for-profit and community organisations such as charities, sports clubs and schools and there can be up to four on any touchscreen of every Reverse Vending Machine.

Any school, community group or sporting club could contact Return and Earn and find out how to get involved and become a local donation partner.

"It's good news for community groups too. More than 350 groups, which featured as donation partners on reverse vending machines, have raised more than $440,000 in donations." Mr Kean said.

"As Return and Earn continues towards the 3 billion milestone, it will continue to expand on its partnerships to improve the environment and benefit the NSW community."

Environment Protection Authority acting CEO Mark Gifford said the scheme had continued to grow and last summer was the busiest period so far with the daily record set on January 28 with 6.8 million containers returned in one day.

"The design of the scheme has made it work - the incentive, the easy to use nature of the reverse vending machines and the convenience - with more than 640 return points spread across New South Wales." He said.

The top return and earn site in NSW was Granville with 14.8 million recycled bottles.