NSW local councils have been praised for their help in promoting a community-wide shift in attitudes to recycling as the state’s Return and Earn scheme celebrates its third birthday.
Exchange for Change CEO, Danielle Smalley said council support of the Return and Earn program had resulted in tonnes of drink containers being returned for recycling since the scheme launched in December 2017.
“Today, 75% of NSW residents have participated in the scheme and two out of every three drink containers supplied into the state in the last 12 months have been recycled through the scheme,” said Ms Smalley.
“NSW councils have been crucial to engaging local residents in container recycling at a community level.
“Be they landlords of return points, providing their communities with access; supporters actively encouraging locals to participate; or sharing in the refund from containers collected by material recovery facilities processing kerbside material to put back into programs benefitting their community, local councils all over NSW have helped shift attitudes to litter and recycling at a grassroots level.”
Releasing the Local Government Network Collection Volumes Report for the last three years, Ms Smalley noted 29 local councils currently hosted return points on council land, enabling the scheme to continue to provide convenient community access to return points and also providing councils with a reliable income stream through return point hosting fees.
Such councils include Hornsby Shire, landlord of the new Greenway Park reverse vending machine (RVM) which is the ninth return point to open in the Hornsby local government area; Warrumbungle Shire Council in far west NSW which hosts two over-the-counter return points and Lismore Council in the north who hosts an automated depot.
James Dorney, CEO of NSW network operator TOMRA Cleanaway congratulated all NSW councils for their enthusiastic support of the scheme, which he said had strongly contributed to the billions of bottles and cans returned through Return and Earn since the scheme launched.
“The benefits of the scheme to our community are clear – 4.6 billion containers that now have a new life as a valuable resource, less litter in our parks and waterways, and $460 million in refunds back into the hands of the community helping bolster local business and charities,” Mr Dorney said.
“The strength of partnerships with local governments and the Return and Earn scheme is evidenced through the number of return points hosted across the state by councils which is increasing each year”.
He said this change in attitude to litter and recycling could be seen across NSW with 64% of NSW residents stating the scheme would increase the amount of recycling they do.
“The remarkable success of the NSW container deposit scheme in its first three years is a result of the joint efforts between State and Local Government, industry and the community. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve in the next three,” Ms Smalley added.
The latest Return and Earn Local Government Network Collection Volumes Report is available at https://www.exchangeforchange.com.au/who-we-are/publications-and-reports.html.