Leeton leading the way!

An incredible milestone has been achieved in Leeton, where residents have recycled more than 28 million items through Return and Earn.

The figures have been released as the initiative celebrate 6 years of operation and 10 billion containers collected across New South Wales.

Woolworths Leeton Return and Earn Machine is located within the Woolworths precinct at the corner of Wamoon Ave and Palm Avenue, Leeton and is always busy with residents recycling their bottles and cans.

The facility has been busy ever since opening and the numbers reflect that.

Every eligible drink container, that is, bottle, can or carton that is recycled, is worth 10 cents each and residents can choose to have their refunds multiple ways. Digital payments are available via the Return and Earn app, allowing customers to receive direct bank transfer of funds, digital vouchers or PayPal payments. Customers can also use the app to donate to charity. If cash is preferred, customers can receive a paper voucher from the machine that can be redeemed at any Woolworths.

Since operations started in Leeton, more than 28 million bottles and cans have gone through the Return and Earn Machine.

More than 14 million of that was aluminium cans, close to seven million was glass bottles, and the remaining numbers accounted for other items recycled at other return schemes that Leeton Shire Council participates in.

In Griffith, that number totalled more than 61 million, while in Narrandera the number was just over eight million.

How is NSW Participating?

Across the state, eight out of 10 NSW adults have participated in the scheme, with more than 10.4 billion drink containers returned for recycling through its statewide return point network.

Launched in December 2017, Return and Earn is a NSW government initiative delivered in partnership by the NSW Environment Protection Authority, network operator TOMRA Cleanaway and Scheme Coordinator, Exchange for Change.

Exchange for Change chief executive officer Danielle Smalley said $1.04 billion in container refunds back had gone back into people’s pockets, with 960,344 tonnes of materials being recycled.

“Importantly Return and Earn is NSW’s leading product stewardship scheme,” she said.

“The clean stream of materials it generates allows for new bottles and cans to be made from re-used plastic, aluminium and glass, contributing to a growing domestic circular economy.

“Even though it’s been successful, everyone involved in delivering the scheme remains focused on continually improving and innovating to make it even easier for people to participate and increase the number of containers recycled.”

Return and Earn Celebrated at Stockland Piccadilly, Sydney

Cheers to 6 Years! Executives from across Return and Earn gathered at Stockland Piccadilly to celebrate in the Scheme’s shared success!

Leeton’s quick facts and stats:

■ 166 million litres, the amount of water savings Leeton has achieved through the program. This is enough to fill 66 Olympic swimming pools.

■ 37,136 gigajoules, the amount of energy savings Leeton has achieved through the program. This is equivalent to 297 years of household energy consumption.

■ 1.693 million kilograms, the amount of landfill savings Leeton has achieved through the program. This is equivalent to enough waste to fill 178 garbage trucks.

■ 3.403 million carbon emissions avoided by the program in Leeton. This is equivalent to 1260 cars off the road.

This article first appeared in The Irrigator

About Return and Earn

New return points and return point formats continue to be rolled out across the state with 618 return points now available in NSW, including reverse-vending machines, automated depots and over-the-counter return points.

From now until April 2024, community supporters of Return and Earn are being encouraged to ‘Donate to a Mate’ by donating all or some of their container refunds to the RFS Benevolent Fund, helping families and volunteers of the NSW Rural Fire Service in their time of need.

Want to check your impact through Return and Earn? Visit the Impact Calculator here.