MORE than 500,000 bottles and cans have been dropped off across the North East in the first week of Victoria's 10-cent refund scheme.
From the opening day of the recycling initiative on November 1 through to November 9 there were 503,400 beverage containers deposited within the Alpine, Benalla, Indigo, Moira, Towong, Wangaratta and Wodonga council areas.
The bulk of those were left at four depots, which have been contracted by Visy Recycling to take bottles and cans as part of the state government administered program.
There were 131,900 counted at Exchange Depot's Wodonga shed and 201,800 at its sister site in Wangaratta.
Drop-off hubs run by Foott at Benalla and Yarrawonga put through 105,400 and 19,300 containers respectively.
Exchange Depot managing director Damien Woolford believes the lower numbers at his Wodonga centre compared to Wangaratta reflected the likelihood of Twin City consumers taking their containers to Return and Earn machines in Albury.
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"It's just a matter of changing people's habits, to get them to come the closer one, whereas at Wangaratta they haven't had it before near them and they've had to travel to Corowa (to drop off containers)," Mr Woolford said.
He also noted the Wodonga depot near the city's transfer station was not in as prominent location as its Wangaratta counterpart which is close to a Bunnings store.
Foott chief executive Andrew Yeoland also cited proximity to NSW as one of two reasons for Yarrawonga's number being markedly lower than other North East depots.
"From a Yarrawonga perspective we haven't got the complete signage up on the building yet, so in terms of advertising in Yarrawonga it hasn't been as prominent as Benalla or Shepparton," Mr Yeoland said.
"Also with Yarrawonga you've got to remember a lot of people are used to using the NSW scheme and people are still alternating between the NSW and Victorian schemes.
"There's a big opportunity for us to educate the consumers on the Victorian side about the container deposit scheme in their state."
Mr Woolford said he was hoping to engage community groups and sporting clubs in the scheme by dropping off 240-litre bins to allow for the collection of containers via his pick-up service.
He has ordered a fleet of bins and hopes to have them available for the Christmas lead-up.
Mr Yeoland has similar bins ready to distribute in Benalla and is keen to hear from interested bodies.
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