Rotary Club and Girl Guides work together in Cobar to recycle
When Return and Earn launched nearly five years ago, the Rotary Club of Cobar had already been returning aluminium cans for their scrap value to support a local retirement village.
Club Secretary Gordon Hill said it made sense to switch to the NSW container deposit scheme. “Return and Earn provided greater income for the Rotary Club and an opportunity to assist other worthy causes in the community,” he said.
It didn’t take long for the club to establish 16 dedicated deposit cages in different locations around Cobar.
“Rotary Club members check and empty the cages each week, and sort and pack the recyclable containers at our club recycling yard,” said Gordon.
The club has also begun working with the local Girl Guides, who were looking for a community-based environmental program to assist.
“Each Saturday afternoon, two Girl Guide volunteers join us at our recycling yard to assist in sorting the bottles and cans. Since May this year, the Girl Guides have packed 34,390 recyclable containers which will now not go to landfill,” said Gordon.
He explained that one of the benefits for the Girl Guides is the real-world experience in seeing how much locally created waste can be recycled.
“It also provides a healthy opportunity for a challenge to see which girls can pack the most containers during a 1.5 to 2 hour session. The record currently stands at 3,080, but the challenge continues,” he added.
The sorted containers are taken to the Vinnies Automated Depot in Dubbo every five or six weeks. Gordon said this is the most efficient way for them to return the volume they collect, with each trailer load of thousands of containers able to be processed in just 90 minutes.
Funds raised via Return and Earn support local community groups, charities and other initiatives, including The Royal Flying Doctor Service, the three school libraries, the community newspaper, and the Cobar High School Science and Engineering Challenge Team.
“The community has been highly supportive of the initiative, with nearly $25,000 raised through the 10c refunds since early 2020,” said Gordon.
Find out more about donating here.
Return and Earn is a partnership between the NSW Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator TOMRA Cleanaway.