Video | Sharks stars try out shire's first reverse vending machines in 10 cents container deposit scheme

Sharks’ stars Chad Townsend and Valentine Holmes try out the new machines at the launch on Monday by state MPs Mark Speakman and Eleni Petinos.
Sharks’ stars Chad Townsend and Valentine Holmes try out the new machines at the launch on Monday by state MPs Mark Speakman and Eleni Petinos.

The first reverse vending machines to be installed in Sutherland Shire under the 10 cents container deposit scheme are operating in the car park of the Sharks Leagues Club and Southern Cross Group Stadium.

Sharks’ stars Chad Townsend and Valentine Holmes tried out the new Return and Earn scheme technology at the launch on Monday by state MPs Mark Speakman and Eleni Petinos.

Sutherland Shire's first reverse vending machines

“Unreal”, said Townsend; “awesome”, added Holmes.

The bank of four reverse vending machines (RVMs) include two which take only glass containers and two which accept plastic, cans and cartons.

They add to 10 over-the-counter collection points in shops and other small businesses in the shire. 

Several over-the-counter collection operators withdrew in the early days of the scheme.

Another two RVM sites in the centre and west of the shire are expected to be announced in the next fortnight.

RVMs provide refunds of 10 cents per eligible container in three ways:

  • A voucher redeemable at a participating retailer.
  • A direct payment to a bank account via PayPal.
  • A donation to one of four charities shown on the machine’s screen.

The machines at the Sharks club have Woolworths as the retailer, while the charities are Cancer Council, St Vincent de Paul Society, Surf Life Saving NSW and Planet Ark.

Machines can be customised to provide other options.

the bank of four machines in the car park at the Sharks leagues club.

the bank of four machines in the car park at the Sharks leagues club.

Mr Speakman, as Environment Minister, gained cabinet approval to introduce a conventional container deposit scheme with a 10 cents refund covering the same containers accepted in South Australia and Northern Territory operations.

Expressions of interest were called before he moved to the Attorney-General’s role, but he was not involved in implementing the scheme.

“I think it got off to a shaky start locally,” he said.

“There has been a lack of outlets, but I think we are back on track now.”

Mr Speakman said 35 million containers had been collected in six weeks, which was “a big vote in community confidence in the scheme”.

Mr Speakman said there was some overlapping with new and old recycling schemes, “but Return and Earn was designed to minimise cannibalising kerbside collection”.

“It focuses on containers that are most likely to be in the litter stream, so it doesn’t pick up milk containers,  wine or spirit bottles or fruit juice containers, beverages mostly consumed at home.

“Although we do have a very good kerbside collection scheme in the shire and NSW generally, that hasn’t stopped 160 million containers being littered every year, so we have got to do more, and that’s what we are doing.”

Mr Speakman said he understood Bate Bay surf clubs were not among 70-90 surf clubs along the NSW coast, which would become collection points for Return and Earn.

“Sites are decisions by the network operator – it is is in their commercial interest to select sites where they will get the most return,” he said.

Ms Petinos said the feedback she had received indicated people were very keen to access Return and Earn locally, but had been hampered by a lack of machines.

“I think people will be be very keen to know about these, and others are expected to be established soon,” she said.

For more information, including collection point locations: returnandearn.org.au

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Information provided by the Environment Protection Authority

WHAT IS RETURN AND EARN?

Return and Earn allows anyone who returns an eligible beverage container to an approved collection point to receive a 10-cent refund. It will help meet the Premier’s goal of reducing litter volume in our environment by 40 per cent by the year 2020.

HOW WILL IT WORK?

The Scheme will be delivered through a two-part structure:

The Scheme Coordinator, Exchange for Change, is responsible for the financial management of the scheme, and for ensuring that the scheme meets its state-wide access and recovery targets.

The Network Operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, is responsible for setting up and running the state-wide network of collection points.

WHICH CONTAINERS ARE ELIGIBLE?

Most beverage containers between 150ml and three litres will be eligible for a refund although there are some exceptions. Wine and spirit bottles are not accepted. For a full list visit: www.returnandearn.org.au  

Eligible containers have been selected based on those most commonly found in the NSW litter stream, and to align with schemes already operating in South Australia and Northern Territory.

HOW CAN PEOPLE PARTICIPATE?

Consumers can participate in the scheme in three ways:

Redeem eligible drink containers at collection points

Donate eligible containers to charities, schools, sporting groups or other community organisations who can redeem them to claim the refund

Place eligible containers in kerbside recycling collection bins as normal which may result in downward pressure on waste charges or improved waste services from your local council

WHAT IS A COLLECTION POINT?

A reverse vending machine, over-the-counter collection point or automated depot can receive empty eligible beverage containers, such as cans and bottles in exchange for a refund.

WHAT IS A REVERSE VENDING MACHINE?

A Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) is the opposite of a drink dispensing machine – a consumer places their empty eligible drink container into the machine where the container is detected and check to confirm it is eligible. The machine then provides the user with a refund voucher or the ability to give the refund to a charity.

HOW DO REVERSE VENDING MACHINES WORK?

Reverse Vending Machines present the customer with the choice to receive refunds in the following ways:

Receive a voucher to be redeemed for cash or an in-store credit at a participating retail partner (such as a Woolworths)

Register to receive a direct payment to a designated bank account via PayPal

Donate the refund to charities and community groups linked to the reverse vending machines

The containers are hand fed into the machine which detects the container, scans the container’s barcode and checks the material and shape to ensure the container is eligible for a refund.

WILL THERE BE A COLLECTION POINT NEAR ME?

There are currently more than 320 operational across the state, with more to open this week and even more to be rolled out in the weeks to come.

The network operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, is deploying teams daily across NSW to review potential new Return and Earn sites.

WHAT IS BEING DONE TO MANAGE LITTER AT COLLECTION POINTS?

Network Operator TOMRA Cleanaway is ensuring bins are provided at each reverse vending machine and TOMRA Cleanaway staff are attending and cleaning sites every day.

More people are using the reverse vending machines and visiting collection points in the holiday period, and TOMRA Cleanaway has increased its clean-up efforts and put additional support arrangements in place.

Return and Earn is designed to reduce litter and encourage people to do the right thing. As well as returning eligible containers, people should make sure they put any rubbish in the bins provided or take any ineligible containers and packaging home with them to dispose of or recycle where they can.

SHOULD CONTAINERS BE CRUSHED?

No, Return and Earn covers a wide range of containers and they need to be kept uncrushed and unbroken for them to be verified and sorted so that you can receive your refund

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES EXIST FOR CHARITIES AND COMMUNITY GROUPS ETC?

Return and Earn presents a unique fundraising opportunity for charities and community groups who can ask people to give them their containers which they can then redeem for the refund.  Charities, community groups and social enterprises can also work with the Network Operator, TOMRA Cleanaway,  to set up and run collection points.

People can also donate to the first four Return and Earn donation partners: Cancer Council, St Vincent de Paul, Surf Life Saving NSW and Planet Ark. Other charities, community and sporting groups, schools, and other not-for-profit organisations can also register their interest to become a donation partner under the rotation system. 

HOW CAN SOMEONE BECOME A COLLECTION POINT OPERATOR?

Collection point operators are managed by TOMRA Cleanaway. Anyone interested can contact TOMRA Cleanaway. Details at http://www.tcnsw.com.au/ 

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE SCHEME?

More information, including updates as they become available, is available at www.returnandearn.org.au

IS THERE A PUBLIC HELP LINE?

Network Operator TOMRA Cleanaway is the first point of contact for public enquiries regarding collection points and containers, including issues at machines. The number is 1800 290 691