Return and Earn sees half a billion containers returned

More than half a billion containers have been returned to Return and Earn reverse vending machines in NSW, eight months after the scheme launched.

The container deposit scheme aims to improve recycling rates and reduce the volume of litter in the state by 40 per cent by 2020.

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Each eligible container is worth 10 cents when returned to a reverse vending machine or depot.

Drink containers litter currently makes up 44 per cent of the volume of all litter throughout NSW and costs more than $162 million to manage, according to the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) was the first educational institution to install a reverse vending machine as part of the scheme.

UNSW Senior Manager, Environmental Sustainability Will Syddall said that while this initiative helps to reduce littering and improve recycling rates, it is just one step in improving the way we create and manage waste.

“In the waste hierarchy, reducing and reusing resources is better than recycling them. We encourage the community to use reusable water bottles and coffee cups so that they can avoid disposable cups and bottles altogether,” Mr Syddall said.

“We also recognise that we have more work to do to reduce the amount of single-use plastic and other consumables used on our campuses.”

According to the World Bank, half of the plastic ever manufactured was made in the last 15 years.

Return and Earn donates to Tathra Bushfire recovery

Return and Earn has donated more than $10,000 to the people of Tathra, a town in NSW’s South Coast, to help with their bushfire recovery.

After bushfires tore through the town in March this year, devastating the community and causing millions of dollars of damage, EPA NSW worked with Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton and TOMRA Cleanaway to champion the campaign to make the Tathra Bushfire Appeal the nominated charity for Return and Earn.

The people of NSW rallied behind the cause, donating $8400 worth of their 10 cent refunds through the reverse vending machines across the state. An extra $2000 was then donated by the Return and Earn network operator Tomra Cleanaway at the Tathra Bushfire Relief concert on Saturday.

Since the bushfire, EPA NSW has continued to manage much of the clean-up work as Chair of the Government’s Infrastructure, Waste and Environmental Recovery Sub-Committee, overseeing the waste management, clean up and environmental rehabilitation work.

Positive results for NT container deposit scheme

More than 75 per cent of Northern Territory residents have said they believe the container deposit scheme (CDS) has been a success, according to a recent survey.

The survey also showed 81 per cent of territorians participate in the CDS because they are environmentally conscious.

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NT’s CDS began in January 2012 and provides a 10 cent refund on beverage containers returned through collection depots.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Director Leonie Cooper said the survey component of the review into the CDS received 714 responses, including 646 from community organisations and members of the public.

“The CDS has delivered many benefits to the Territory community, such as financial boosts to schools and community groups, as well as increased recycling rates and reduced litter in our environment,” Ms Cooper said.

“More than 90 million containers were collected by collection depots last financial year (2016-17) from territorians, the most collected in any 12 month period since the scheme began.

“Collection depots paid out more than $9 million to territorians during this time and this further demonstrates that territorians continue to support the CDS,” she said.

In addition, the survey also collected 68 responses from non-governmental organisations, government employees and the industry, including CDS coordinators, depot operators and supply approval holders.

“Participating in the survey gave territorians an opportunity to contribute to improvements in consumer experience with CDS, and the environmental and community benefits that could come from improving access and operations of the CDS,” Ms Cooper said.

“I thank everyone who participated in the survey and provided valuable suggestions on how the CDS can be improved. These suggestions are currently being considered by the independent CDS review team, with the final review report due for release in August,” she said.

Ms Cooper said CDS infrastructure grants have provided businesses and organisations with one-off funding to improve public access across the NT.

NSW consumers return and earn with TOMRA app

More than 100,000 people have downloaded TOMRA’s recycling app linked with the NSW Return and Earn scheme.

The free app, called myTOMRA, shows the status with Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) in NSW and has partnered with digital payment provider PayPal.

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Users can scan their personal barcode at the RVM and claim money from returned containers electronically.

The app shows whether a RVM is open, almost full, temporarily unavailable, or in sleep mode during out of hours periods. It also includes a map which can direct users to the nearest RVM.

The Return and Earn scheme was implemented in NSW on 1 December and has seen more than 310 million containers returned since it launched. It aims to reduce the amount of litter across NSW by 40 per cent by 2020.

Consumers are able to claim a 10-cent refund when they return an eligible drink container to a collection point in NSW. Most 150 millilitre to three-litre drink containers made from plastic, glass, steel, liquid paperboard and aluminium are returnable.

TOMRA Cleanaway is the network operator for the scheme, with TOMRA providing the RVM technology and Cleanaway delivering the logistics and sorting for collected containers.

Return and Earn donations to help Tathra Bushfire Appeal

Donations from NSW Return and Earn refunds can now be sent towards those who have been devastated by the Tathra bushfires.

TOMRA has announced the Tathra Bushfire Appeal has become an official donation partner, allowing 10c donations for each container returned under the state’s container deposit scheme at any reverse vending machine from across NSW.

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Recyclers are able to donate their funds by choosing the option on the reverse vending machine, which will then go towards helping the people of Tathra to rebuild their lives and homes.

TOMRA Chief Executive Officer Ryan Buzzell, says, “It’s such an easy way for people to help out others in need and our team have worked very hard to make this happen quickly, so we ask everyone to give as generously as they can this month.”

Environmental group Take 3 for the Sea has stepped aside to give the Tathra Bushfire Appeal to have the opportunity to raise funds until the end of April.

Take 3 for the Sea Co-Founder Tim Silverwood says, “It’s a terrible thing for anyone to have to experience, so we were really keen to do what we could and I hope that people will find it in their hearts to help the people of Tathra get back on their feet again.”

TOMRA Cleanaway is the network provider for the Return and Earn scheme, with TOMRA providing the vending machines and Cleanaway handling the logistics and sorting.

There are more than 535 collection points across NSW, with the scheme seeing 200 million containers returned in 16 weeks.

Almost 100 million containers collected by NSW Return and Earn

Almost 100 million containers have been returned since the NSW Return and Earn scheme began in December last year, according to the official website.

Reverse vending machine technology, alongside over-the-counter and automated depots have helped NSW reach this goal. As of Monday, the website showed more than 98 million containers collected.

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NSW Minister for Environment, Gabrielle Upton said more than five million drink containers had been returned over the second weekend of February.

Nepean Distributors, a drinks product supplier to schools and sporting club canteens, have been supporting the scheme and having a positive impact on the local community, according to EPA NSW.

In two months, Nepean Distributors has processed 133,034 containers, with over record of 11,879 in a day.

“It is making people, especially kids and teenagers, think about recycling. We want to help change their mindset to think about their environment and cleaning up their local park,” Managing Director of Nepean Distributors, Anthony Morrissey said.

They have also teamed up with local sports groups such as Macarthur BMX to help fundraise for the club and encourage locals to donate their refunds to charities like the African AIDS Foundation.

50 million drink containers collected by Return and Earn

More than 50 million drink containers have been returned through the Return and Earn recycling program since it began in December 2017.

NSW Environment Protection Authority Acting Chair and CEO Mark Gifford said daily returns are averaging 1.5 million drink containers. Weekends tend to be the busiest times for returns, with last Sunday peaking at over 1.8 million returns.

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“People wanting to return large numbers of containers can also go straight to the nearest automated depot.”

There are now 349 collection points across NSW with more in development. New sites include Griffith North, Port Macquarie, Fairfield, Bathurst and Campbelltown.

The most popular reverse vending machines are at Emerton, Casula, Granville, Revesby and Prospect, which have each received more than one million containers since the scheme began.

Surf Life Saving NSW announces new Return and Earn sites

Surf Life Saving NSW has revealed more than 70 surf clubs across the state have signed up to become donation sites for the NSW Government’s Return and Earn Container Deposit Scheme.

In partnership with Envirobank Recycling, community members can take eligible drink containers within the scheme to a local surf club and donate the 10-cent per container proceeds to Surf Life Saving. It is expected that more of the 129 Surf Life Saving Clubs in NSW will become donation sites throughout 2018.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the Surf Life Saving donation sites are a smart way for charities to benefit from the scheme.

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“Not only do surf club donation sites enable people to help one of the state’s largest volunteer community organisations, they also provide additional and convenient drink container collection points for everyone.”

CEO of Surf Life Saving NSW Steven Pearce said the program has provided an entirely new way for club and community members to raise funds for the vital services provided by volunteer surf lifesavers.

“For every drink container donated by a member of the public, eight cents goes directly to the local surf club where the containers are deposited. The remaining two cents will be used by Surf Life Saving NSW to fund community education programs, help train lifesavers and provide vital lifesaving and rescue equipment to our clubs,” Mr Pearce said.

“Thanks to the generosity of our members and the community, if we capture just a fraction of the estimated 1.6 billion drink containers to be recycled over the next 20 years through the scheme, I have no doubt it has the potential to become a long-term source of fundraising,” he said.

According to Narelle Anderson, Managing Director and founder of Envirobank Recycling, in other states where container deposit schemes are already operational, charitable donations comprise the major component of the public’s reimbursements.

“Envirobank has been a long-term network operator in the Northern Territory scheme and it’s evident the program is much more than a litter collection initiative,” she said.

“With the right partnerships in place the scheme has the potential to raise substantial funds for many charities that deliver the vital services we need in our communities.”

 How Surf Life Saving Club Donation sites will work:

  • Participating Surf Life Saving Clubs will host secure and safe donation ‘cages’.
  • Club and community members will be provided environmentally-friendly and protective bags made from recycled PET to collect and store containers at home, school and/or work.
  • At club-designated times, community members can bring collected containers to the local surf club for drop-off and donation.
  • When cages are full, Envirobank Recycling will send a mobile collection truck to collect all containers and empty the cages. Donation proceeds will be recorded with Surf Life Saving NSW who will dispense the funds to the participating clubs.
  • Clubs will accept aluminium cans and plastic PET bottles. Containers must be empty with lids off.

Operational Donation Sites from Monday 22 January, 2018:

  • Birubi Point SLSC
  • Bulli SLSC
  • Cape Hawke SLSC
  • Cooks Hills SLSC
  • Forster SLSC
  • Gerringong SLSC
  • Killcare SLSC
  • Ocean Beach SLSC
  • Scarborough Wombarra SLSC
  • Shellharbour SLSC
  • Warilla Barrack Point SLSC
  • Woolgoolga SLSC

Eight new Return and Earn collection points to open

Eight new collection points are set to open in NSW this week, bringing the total number of Return and Earn sites for the state to more than 300.

Millions of eligible containers have been returned since December 1, with people from all parts of NSW participating in the container deposit scheme. As of Friday morning, 5 January, a total of 22 million containers have been returned.

NSW Environment Protection Authority Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said the new collection points would enable even more people to return their eligible containers and claim the 10c deposit.

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“The number of returned containers is growing each week as people around NSW get behind the scheme and do the right thing by the environment with their used containers,” Mr Gifford said.

“Now even more people can get involved, with new collection points in Tamworth, Griffith, Armidale, the Hunter, Bankstown and more – the scheme is rolling out to all corners of the state.”

Mr Gifford said the total number of returns is expected to reach 25 million early next week. He said these are huge numbers and show just how popular the scheme is.

“And it’s not just people returning containers – the scheme operator TOMRA-Cleanaway is receiving lots of applications from the community and local businesses to host reverse vending machines and collection points.

“With more collection points opening even more people can get involved, which ultimately goes towards our aim of reducing litter in our environment.”

The eight new sites with reverse vending machines are all expected to be operational over the weekend and are as follows:

  • Kurri Golf Club, Clift Street, Heddon Greta
  • Bankstown Plaza, South Terrace, Bankstown
  • Carlo’s SUPA IGA Tamworth, Tamworth Shopping Village
  • Carter Street Cricket Grounds, Tamworth
  • Carter Street Softball Grounds, Tamworth
  • University of NSW, Kensington
  • Griffith Food Works, Banna Avenue, Griffith
  • Armidale Recycling Centre, 108 Long Swamp Road, Armidale
  • Another three sites are set to open soon in Edgeworth, Casino, and north Griffith.

As well as claiming the 10c refund at the collection points, people can choose to donate that 10c to one of the first four Return and Earn donation partners: Cancer Council, St Vincent de Paul, Surf Life Saving NSW and Planet Ark.

For more information on the scheme, a map of collection points and a list of eligible drink containers, visit Return and Earn.