Return and Earn broke records for recycling over the Christmas – New Year period, setting a new daily record and processing more than 91 million drink containers.
NSW Government Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said a new state record was set on 2 January, when an incredible 6.8 million drink containers were returned across the state.
“Between 21 December 2018 and 7 January 2019, there were six days with more than six million drink containers returned a day, and the daily average is now 5.8 million drink containers a day being processed across the state,” Ms Upton said.
“This shows strong community support for the NSW Government’s Return and Earn scheme as more and more people are recycling drink containers rather than throwing them away.
“Since the scheme started, more than 1.2 billion drink containers have been returned, which is a massive turnaround in the way people dispose of their empty drink containers.
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Ms Upton said that as well as reducing litter, Return and Earn is creating jobs and helping charities create an alternate income stream.
“Employment charity Hoxton Industries is running Return and Earn bulk depots at Villawood and Ingleburn, enabling them to create jobs for people who would otherwise face barriers to mainstream employment,” she said.
Garry Carr, Director of Hoxton Industries, said running a Return and Earn depot has transformed the employment charity’s operations.
“Return and Earn meant we could expand our operations, employ ten additional staff, and return nearly $200,000 to the community,” Mr Carr said.
“Our mission is to create jobs for people who face barriers to mainstream employment, and we can now do this in new areas and with new employment skills.”
Ms Upton said that, as a result of Return and Earn, eligible drink container litter volume have dropped by 44 per cent and now represent an all-time low of 37 per cent of the NSW litter volume stream.
“At the same time, the state’s overall litter volume has dropped by 48 per cent.
“Return and Earn has been a success because it is backed in by the people of NSW and it’s fantastic to see them help to reduce the amount of litter in the environment,” Ms Upton said.