30 April 2024

New bottle deposit refund scheme to benefit Vinnies opens in Griffith

| Oliver Jacques
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Three men with bins

Vinnies’ Phil Coyte, Mitchell Saddler and Rakesh Kumar at the launch of the new facility in Griffith on Monday. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

A new recycling refund scheme that will benefit a local charity has opened in Griffith.

Container deposit service TOMRA Cleanaway has partnered with St Vincent de Paul Society NSW (Vinnies) to operate a service at 15-21 Lenehan Road, which provides 10-cent refunds for each empty bottle, can or container deposited.

“It’s part of the NSW Government’s Return and Earn scheme,” Vinnies Executive Director Phil Coyte said.

“We run some sites underneath that scheme. It’s designed for bulk donations of containers, but anyone can come and deposit what they’re recycling. We can process containers very quickly; there’s a similar site in Wagga.

“All the profit that comes from running the site goes back to Vinnies to help local programs and membership services.

“The machines count items quickly and calculate the customer’s refund. The customers have the option of donating all or part of their refund to Vinnies if they want to; we also get a handling fee for managing the containers.”

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Most drink bottles and cans are eligible for a refund. This includes cans (for example, soft drink), bottles, cartons and juice boxes or poppers.

Most containers between 150 ml and 3 L are accepted. To be eligible for a refund, your bottles, cans and containers must be in good condition, empty and have the label attached.

Vinnies’ Rakesh Kumar said it was a great partnership.

“TOMRA provide the machines and maintenance and we provide the service to the customer; we try and make sure nobody has to wait.”

Mr Coyte said the site opened a week and a half ago and had already taken in a quarter of a million containers.

“The site can do about 100,000 containers a day; we’re nowhere near at capacity yet but we’ll get there at some point.”

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The NSW Return and Earn scheme was launched in 2017. According to its data, users have earned $1 billion in container refunds since then and have raised $47 million for charities and local community groups.

Mr Coyte said anyone could use the Vinnies Return and Earn deposit centre and that other local charities had partnered with them to earn some money for their services through the recycling.

Vinnies programs that will benefit from the income include housing, drug and alcohol and counselling support.

“Housing is a big issue,” Mr Coyte said. “There’s a big demand out there and a great need. There’s some good conversations going on around housing; hopefully they lead to some solutions.”

The Vinnies Return and Earn Centre is open from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at Lenehan Road, Griffith.

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