Recycling returns valuable dollars to Marine Rescue Bermagui

The Bega Shire local government area have recycled over 33.7 million containers to-date through the Return and Earn Container Deposit Scheme, helping both the local environment and the local community.

 Bermagui Marine Rescue protects the community enjoying the coastal region and is a featured charity on the local Return and Earn return vending machine (RVM) in Bermagui. The charity also has supporters who donate their container refunds in cash.

 Volunteer Caron Parfitt says this provides a useful income stream for Bermagui Marine Rescue. Container returns through Return and Earn generate around $1,000 per year for the organisation, which goes towards fuel and maintenance for the organisation’s rescue vessel.

 As well as operating a rescue vessel, the organisation has a radio room, to monitor the relevant channel and listen for a mayday. “Boats can log on with us where they go out and log off when they come back,” explains Caron. “As soon as they are overdue we follow up to make sure they are okay – it provides a good safety net for them.”

 This is all run by 35 local volunteers. All up around 20-25 rescues are carried out each year, of both locals and tourists.

 Caron says as well as being a way to fundraise, the scheme has been a great way to get some publicity for the organisation – and to let people know about the services Bermagui Marine Rescue offers. Caron explains that because so much of their work is carried out on the water, people don’t always see them in action – and so boaters don’t always know how to call them for assistance.

 Caron says they have renewed their partnership with TOMRA to be featured on the Return and Earn RVM until April next year. “We will promote the fundraising on Facebook and put up some posters around town,” she says. “The community wants to support us. I think they like to support the scheme itself, and then they like that they can use that to help another local organisation.”

 Return and Earn continues to deliver strong environmental, community and economic benefits to the NSW community. More than $24.5 million has been returned through the scheme to charities and not-for-profits via donations and fees from hosting return points across the state.

This article first appeared in the Bega District News