Return and Earn to rollout across the state for December 1 start

The Mudgee region is on the map for the roll-out of a scheme aiming to dramatically reduce litter from drinks packaging.

Return and Earn, the state’s new container deposit scheme, will start across NSW on December 1.

More than 500 collection points including 800 reverse vending machines (RVMs) will open across NSW to receive the eligible containers.

The final details about where in the region people will be able to find their nearest collection point are still to come.

“The network operator, TOMRA-Cleanaway, will finalise these locations over the coming months but broadly speaking they will be obliged to place a collection point in each regional town that has a population of more than 1000 people, and an additional collection point for every additional 20,000 people in a regional town,” a spokeswoman for the EPA said.

The roll-out of reverse vending machines is a first for Australia. 

Environment minister Gabrielle Upton said the Return and Earn scheme would be a convenient and rewarding system for everyone.

“This is the biggest initiative to tackle litter in the state’s history and it will make a massive difference to the amount of rubbish on our streets, parks and waterways right across NSW,” Ms Upton said on July 29.

The EPA advises Mudgee region households the container deposit scheme will complement not compete with the kerbside recycling service.

Return and Earn was designed to reduce containers most commonly consumed out of the home and found in the NSW litter stream by encouraging people to return eligible containers for a 10-cent refund, the spokeswoman said.

Eligible containers include most glass, cans, plastics and paperboard drink containers between 150mls and three litres.

“Exempt containers, which include those most commonly consumed at home such as plain milk, cordial, wine bottles, and 1 litre or more of fruit, vegetable or flavoured milk, should still be recycled through the kerbside collection system,” the spokeswoman said.

“Householders can also continue to place eligible containers into their kerbside system if they prefer and the 10-cent refund will be shared between the waste facility and the local council.

“Eligible containers for Return and Earn also broadly align with the eligible containers in the existing South Australian and Northern Territory schemes.”

Return and Earn will offer a great fundraising opportunity for schools, charities and other community groups who will be able to collect donated containers from the community that they can then redeem for a 10-cent refund at a collection point, the EPA spokeswoman said.

“In South Australia these groups share in millions of dollars every year through participating in their container deposit scheme,” she said.

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