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11 DEC 2020

At risk youths recycling for a purpose

Southern Youth and Family Services (SYFS) operates across southern NSW, providing support and assistance to young people who are disadvantaged, homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.

As an independent local charity, SYFS relies heavily on donations from community organisations, individuals and businesses, to meet costs. This year they began fundraising through the Return and Earn NSW container deposit scheme.

SYFS General Manager Eleonore Johansson says the charity has always encouraged recycling, and being able to use Return and Earn to fundraise has been a concrete way to give “an extra motivating incentive to young people, staff and supporters to recycle”.

“Our staff and our young people have been inspired to recycle since this started, and many of the young people we work with have started collecting cans and bottles for us to return,” Eleonore says.

“We had one young homeless person in one of our services who truly had his floor covered in Pepsi Max cans. I think he was quite proud of the fact he could recycle, and do something meaningful with the containers,” she adds.

In the past year they have raised almost $2,000 through Return and Earn, and all funds received go directly to supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“The donations help us tackle issues that can lead to homelessness, including poverty, child abuse, family breakdown, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment, grief and loss, mental illness and juvenile offending,” says Eleonore.

Return and Earn is a partnership between the NSW Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator TOMRA Cleanaway. Launched in December 2017 it has become the state’s largest litter initiative.

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