More return points are being added to the New South Wales Government’s Return and Earn scheme after a new contract was signed with network operator TOMRA Cleanaway.
James Griffin, Minister for Environment, said more than 7.4 billion containers have been returned, and millions of dollars returned to the people of NSW and charities, since the container deposit scheme began in 2017.
“Return and Earn started out as a litter prevention program, and it has succeeded in that, achieving a 52 per cent reduction in the volume of drink container litter and recycling more than 672,000 tonnes in materials,” Griffin said.
“Five years on, Return and Earn has transformed into one of the most successful and trusted recycling initiatives Australia has seen, with more than 600 return points across NSW, at least 330 of which are Reverse Vending Machines.
“Return and Earn is the circular economy in action. It’s helping us clean up our environment, turning trash into treasure, and fundamentally shifting the way people think about used drink containers.”
Under the new contract, TOMRA Cleanaway will continue expanding the Return and Earn network with 48 new return point locations. These will increase coverage across NSW, with many of the new return points in regional towns.
James Dorney, TOMRA Cleanaway Chief Executive Officer, welcomed the contract extension and said he looks forward to continuing working with the NSW Environment Protection Authority and the scheme co-ordinator Exchange for Change.
“Working with our partners, we look forward to building upon the incredible successes of the scheme to date and the positive environmental, charity and community outcomes delivered as part of the circular economy in NSW,” Dorney said.
The renewal and expansion of the contract isn’t just good news for the environment, it’s also good news for charities, with more than $30 million raised for charities and community groups via donations and fees since the scheme commenced.
Jack de Groot, Chief Executive officer, St Vincent de Paul Society, said through the partnership, they’ve developed a valuable new income stream to support their work.
“It started out with over-the-counter collections in Vinnies Shops across Western Sydney and the Illawarra,” de Groot said.
“We have now evolved our operation to seven automated depots across NSW, and outstanding community support has meant we soon will have processed 300 million containers.”
For more information, visit: www.returnandearn.org.au