NSW Government's container recycling scheme not rolled out in Griffith and department provides no information

The NSW Government’s container deposit scheme, Return and Earn, commences on December 1. 

Under the scheme, people can earn 10 cents for every eligible drink container they hand in to designated collection points. 

Sound like a great idea? There’s only one minor problem.

Nobody seems to know where the collection points are in the Griffith region. Not even the NSW Government’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the department that is supposed to be implementing the scheme. 

There is no information on Griffith collection points on the EPA website – the closest collection point being Leeton Woolworths.

EPA advises you to contact the Network Operator TOMRA Cleanaway, who is “responsible for managing collection points”, on 1800 290 691.

When The Area News phoned this number, we were put on hold for 10 minutes before hearing a recorded message “Return and Earn customer service is not available”.

Reverse vending machines

Reverse vending machines

We also contacted the Griffith EPA office, and they said they had no information and asked us to contact the EPA national office.

We then phoned the EPA national office, who also said they have no information on Griffith. 

EPA’s national office provided the following comment:

“More than 200 collection points across NSW are available online. The NSW Government is working closely with the Network Operator, Tomra Cleanaway, to continue rolling out collection points. This is just the start of the roll out – many more sites are currently being finalised and will be added to the map on www.returnandearn.org.au as they are made available”.

At a recent council meeting, Griffith City Council said it had not received  information about the scheme when asked about it by councillor Dino Zappacosta. 

The Mayor advised he and the General Manager would be further discussing the matter at the regional meeting with other Councils.

Under the scheme, containers are supposed to be deposited in a “reverse vending machine”, which is the opposite of a drink machine. You place your empty eligible drink container into the machine, the container is scanned to verify its eligibility and you receive a refund.

The vending machines will only accept containers that are uncrushed, unbroken and have the original label attached – so you need to ensure your recycling is in top condition. 

Containers are also supposed to be able to be deposited over-the-counter at various retail or shopfronts, but it appears this had not been organised in Griffith.