Holiday spot gets rapid-fire can collection point

Tree changers Monica and Rocky Leith are delivering a NSW environmental initiative in the beautiful border town of Mulwala.

The newly launched ‘Mulwala Return and Earn Depot’ is offering high-speed drink container processing that delivers a 10c refund for every eligible container.

Monica and Rocky Leith at their Return and Earn Depot

After making a tree change from Melbourne eight years ago, Rocky and Monica Leith have become the king and queen of can recycling at Mulwala.

The couple began an over-the-counter recycling point as part of NSW’s container deposit scheme in 2020 that saw millions processed and this month they have opened an automated depot.

Already that is estimated to have taken in 200,000 cans and bottles over 10 days.

Mr Leith said the automated hub, in McCarthy Street in Mulwala’s industrial estate, made processing simpler for customers and life a lot easier for him and his wife.

“With the over-the-counter one it was a lot more physical on the body, whereas this just scans the cans and bottles and the data is relayed back to the (TOMRA Cleanaway) head office,” Mr Leith said.

The couple had been operating the manual drop-off site from their laundry business.

They also operate an over-the-counter site at Barooga between Sunday and Wednesday, while the new automated depot is open from Sunday to Friday.

Mr Leith, a former private investigator, and Mrs Leith, a qualified book-keeper, moved from Melbourne to give their three children, Maiko, Nate and Ryder, who help in the container business, a country upbringing.

Monica and Rocky’s whole family are involved in operations

They had previously holidayed in the area and Mr Leith grew up at Warracknabeal in the Wimmera.

Having started in the laundry business, they were offered the chance to be part of the Return and Earn scheme and Mrs Leith said they were now “super proud” to have an automated depot and to see the impact on their surrounds.

“Rarely would you see a bottle or can on the street now,” Mrs Leith said.

“We’re close to the lake, so it’s a huge environmental benefit.”

This article first appeared in The Border Mail.

Mulwala Return and Earn Depot is located at 34 McCarthy Street, Mulwala and is open Monday to Friday 10:00am to 3:00pm and Sunday 10:00am to 3:00pm.