The New South Wales Return and Earn Container Deposit Scheme has seen 22,949,000 containers collected since it kicked off on 1 December last year.
Although the Scheme has come under fire for not being ready with the promised number of collection points on 1 December and for being another tax on consumers, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said at the end of last month that it was proving popular with some consumers.
“Boxing Day was the busiest day for Return and Earn so far. Lots of people were out shopping, and lots of people were out returning their drink containers,” Minister Upton said.
“This has been a great start to the scheme and it is good to see so many people getting involved. Return and Earn will help reduce the 160 million bottles littered in our environment every year.”
On 1 January the Environmental Protection Authority, (EPA) revealed that the first month of the scheme had seen 18 million containers collected, meaning nearly five million have been added to that total in the first week of 2018.
Speaking at the beginning of the month the EPA’s Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford, said: “The uptake of the scheme is growing as more collection points are rolled out and more containers are returned.
“After [New Year] celebrations, we expect even more people to take their eligible containers to their local reverse vending machine or over-the-counter collection point.
“Not only are people collecting the 10c deposit and the amount of money being donated to charities through reverse vending machines is growing, but cans and bottles continue to be removed from the NSW litter stream.”
The scheme now also has more than 300 collection points state-wide and although this is still well short of the 800 that were initially promised by the Government, Gifford said that the number of collection points will continue to grow.
“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,” he said.
“Now even more people can get involved, the scheme is rolling out to all corners of the state. The total number of returns is expected to reach 25 million this week. These are huge numbers, and show just how popular the scheme is.
“And it’s not just people returning containers, the scheme operator TOMRA-Cleanaway is receiving lots of applications from the community and local businesses to host reverse vending machines and collection points. With more collection points opening even more people can get involved, which ultimately goes towards our aim of reducing litter in our environment.”