Workers at D & M Scrap Metal have been flat off their feet sorting and bailing up thousands of containers returned to the Corowa business under the new ‘Return and Earn’ scheme.
More than 21,000 containers were recently collected from Corowa under the recycling scheme that started in December, with a further 16,000 counted in just one day last week.
Most 150-millilitre to 3-litre drink containers are refundable if they are made from glass, plastic, aluminium, steel or liquid paperboard (cartons).
D & M Scrap Metal owners Danielle and Malcolm O’Toole said residents had welcomed the scheme and were saving all their “empties” for the 10 cent refund per container.
“It’s working really well, we have been flat off our feet,” Mrs O’Toole said.
“We had our first shipping container picked up (on Thursday morning) and there was about 21,000 cans and bottles inside and the new container was dropped off as well as it is almost half full already.
“Our oldest three kids are working for us to help out because it is literally full-time work.”
Mrs O’Toole put the large influx on Thursday down to people celebrating over the Christmas period and saving up their empty containers.
The couple’s son Sebastian O’Toole said he was happy to pitch in to help out during the school holidays.
He told the Free Press a couple of people had been collectively collecting containers during the holidays, which had amounted to thousands of containers being returned in one hit.
The mornings have been the busiest with residents trying to beat the heat but are turning up only to find a long queue.
D & M Scrap Metal Office Manager Katrina Dutton said the solution to the long lines had been that residents, who were happy to leave their containers, would return in about 20 minutes in which time they would be counted.
“We have just been flat out since we returned back to work on Tuesday morning,” she said.
“People have been really good though when there has been a bit of a line.
“The one thing we would like to express is that people need to take their rubbish with them, some people have been bringing their containers in cardboard boxes and leaving them behind.”
On the larger scale, 22 million containers have been returned through the NSW Container Deposit Scheme, Return and Earn, in the first month.
The numbers are expected to surge further as people across the state head to collection points following the holidays.
“The uptake of the scheme is growing as more collection points are rolled out and more containers are returned,” NSW Environment Protection Authority Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said.
“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.
“Not only are people collecting the 10 cent deposit, but cans and bottles continue to be removed from the NSW litter stream.”
There are three types of collection points across NSW including reverse vending machines, over-the-counter collection points and automated depots.
More Return and Earn collection points are set to open across NSW.
A total of 316 collection points are currently operating.
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.
The total number of returns is expected to reach 25 million early next week.
The scheme operator TOMRA Cleanaway is receiving lots of applications from the community and local businesses to host reverse vending machines and collection points.
As well as claiming the 10 cent refund at the collection points, people can choose to donate 10 cents to registered charities and sporting organisations.
Mrs O’Toole encouraged local charities and sporting organisations to take advantage of the offer and register.
For more information on the scheme, a map of collection points and a list of eligible drink containers, visit: www.returnandearn.org.au