Over-the-counter can collection begins under NSW Return and Earn scheme at one of three southern Riverina towns listed as deposit points

Ready for returns: Holbrook IGA and Mitre 10 owner-manager Vicky Geddes with hardware employee Paul Lukins who will be involved in collecting bottles as part of the Return and Earn scheme. Picture: MARK JESSER
Ready for returns: Holbrook IGA and Mitre 10 owner-manager Vicky Geddes with hardware employee Paul Lukins who will be involved in collecting bottles as part of the Return and Earn scheme. Picture: MARK JESSER

HOLBROOK has become the first place in the southern Riverina where cans and bottles are being collected over-the-counter as part of the Return and Earn scheme.

IGA supermarkets at Holbrook, Henty and Finley have been listed as collection points on the scheme’s website since last week.

But only Holbrook has become operational with staff at the other towns’ groceries still to receive training.

Holbrook IGA and Mitre 10 owner-manager Vicky Geddes said she had volunteered to be a collection point with an expression of interest to contractor TOMRA-Cleanaway last month.

“We wanted to be a site,” she said.

“It gives our local community the option to recycle in their local community and also if they’re buying products that need recycling hopefully that money stays in the community.”

Over-the-counter hosts will receive 3.5 cents per can or bottle recycled.

The receptacles will be stored in a shipping container which will be collected once a month.

Mrs Geddes said collection at her store is occurring between 9am and 3pm Monday to Saturday with a cap of 300 containers in one transaction.

“Our gut feeling is Saturday morning is going to be our busiest time,” she said.

Dales IGA Plus Liquor at Henty is expected to start receiving containers from Tuesday after training, while Finley IGA may not go live for another week.

Dales manager Narelle Morey was approached about being a collection site a week before the scheme began on December 1.

“I firmly believe it’s been bungled from the start and there’s not enough information for consumers or retailers,” Mrs Morey said.

“Why don’t they run it like they do in South Australia, where they take cans to recycling centres.

“They shouldn’t be running it through small stores.”

Mrs Geddes said a lack of unity was the big concern.

“As far as recycling goes it’s probably not a silly idea,” she said.

“The big issue is Victoria is not doing it.

“If it was South Australia, Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory all involved it would be great, but it’s the whole border issue and difference in policy that’s the real failure.”