The Griffith community has returned over 45 million containers and received more than $4.5 million in refunds at Griffith Return and Earn sites since its introduction in January 2018.

“Griffith residents are enthusiastic participants in Return and Earn, having returned more than 45 million containers for recycling through the two local return points since the scheme commenced,” a Return and Earn spokesperson said.

“This has resulted in more than $4.5 million in container refunds back in the hands of the community.”

The spokesperson also said Return and Earn had become an important fundraising avenue for Griffith with more than $30 million raised for charities and community groups via donations and fees from hosting return points.

The charities include Griffith Meals on Wheels, Griffith Community Centre and Can Assist Griffith.

Griffith Meals on Wheels senior co-ordinator Tennille Valensisi said the recycling initiative was an important avenue for fundraising.

“It’s really important, not just for meals on wheels but for all charities in Griffith. People like to give back and we’re a community that’s very generous,” Mrs Valensisi said.

She also said Return and Earn was an easier way to donate for people who weren’t sure how to help charities or didn’t have time to volunteer.

“It’s just a matter of popping their bottles and cans through the machine and donating those funds back to charity, which is really great,” said Mrs Valensisi.

Return and Earn has also benefited local emergency groups such as the Hanwood Rural Fire Brigade who have been using the machines for fundraising since 2018.

Hanwood Captain Adam Bertolissi said the brigade has so far raised $2000 which has gone towards revamping the clubhouse with new radio equipment and a gym area for members.

“We had a few fundraising projects which included putting radios in our station so we’ve got better connections to our trucks when we’re on jobs,” Mr Bertolissi said. “Now we’re building a gym at our station to improve our cardio health within our members.”

“It’s all just to benefit the volunteers,” he added.

Griffith residents can continue these recycling efforts by donating at the Return and Earn machine at either Banna Avenue Foodworks or Griffith North Woolworths.

Residents can choose to donate some or all of their container refund to the on-screen local donation partner PCYC Griffith, or they can download the Return and Earn app and choose to donate to one of 140 charities listed, including Griffith Community Centre.

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This article was first published in The Area News 16 May 2022