Newcastle and the Hunter Valley has recycled more than 717,879,000 containers through the NSW Government’s Return and Earn scheme.
Across the state, the scheme is on the verge of reaching the milestone of 10 billion recycled cans and bottled at return points since the scheme started in 2017. Users have earned $1 billion in container refunds since the scheme began and $47 million has been donated to charities and local community groups.
More than 923,000 tonnes of materials have been recycled through the scheme.
Newcastle has returned 246,618,979 containers, Lake Macquarie is ahead having returned 336,803,536 and Maitland and the Upper Hunter have done well too putting through 112,077,019 and 22,380,078 respectively.
The Return and Earn scheme has helped a lot of people achieve their dreams in the cost-of-living crisis too.
13-year-old Hunter Valley gymnast Joshua Teelow raised more than $10,000 by recycling drink containers and has used the money to cover the cost of traveling to training at the Gymnastics NSW High Performance Centre in Sydney and to competitions.
His mother Jade said, “so far, he has competed at state and national level and is part of the Junior International Squad. He hopes to eventually represent Australia.”
But the costs were adding up, so Josh began recycling bottles and cans in 2020 to raise extra money.
“His record in one trip to a Return and Earn point was just over $1,300 and he now averages $800 every six to eight weeks,” said Jade.
“We are very lucky to live in a small, supportive community where people and businesses collect cans and bottles for Josh.”