THE launch of the ‘Return and Earn’ program has created a fair divide in the love/hate relationship residents are feeling.
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The reverse vending machine style program launched on December 1, with Medowie Woolworths loading bay one of the trial pilot locations for the new statewide program.
Residents can recycle their cans, bottles and glass for a 10c refund per item.
There has been widespread support, and also criticism for the program as it works with its pilot locations to see what works, and what does not.
The machines are filled quickly, which means residents are certainly taking advantage of the system, but residents and out of towners are also getting frustrated by traveling to the site to find the bins full or arriving to find the site in a mess due to people leaving their boxes and rubbish strewn about.
Cleaners are employed to clean the site daily, yet residents continue to be careless with their garbage, making their jobs even harder.
One resident who has found value with the program in its fledgling stage is Nicholas McLaren from Raymond Terrace.
Nicholas found that whilst he was enjoying using the machine for fundraising with his son, and valued the program being available, he was getting frustrated at wasting petrol to drive from Raymond Terrace to Medowie, only to find the bins/machine full or out of order.
He had the brilliant idea of creating the Facebook group ‘Medowie Return and Earn’ this week, which has already surpassed 500 members.
The group members have been quite active straight away in keeping each other updated on when the bins are emptied, and alerting out of towners when they are fine to make the trip in.
Nicholas told News Of The Area, “For me I saw a need there.”
“People, including myself, wanted to know when the machines were working and when they were full.”
“Since so many people are out there using it everyday it made sense to make a group and crowdsource the information.”
The page had nearly 200 members in the first 24hrs and is now over 500 before the end of their first week.
Nicholas added, “It also gives the community an idea of the volume we are all recycling, and I think knowing when the machine is running will entice more people to use it.”
The group is also helping to combat the negative experiences with the return and earn machine, making this ‘ironing out’ period of this new program an easier experience.
For more information on the program itself, visit: www.returnandearn.org.au and www.tcnsw.com.au.
By Rachael VAUGHAN