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25 SEP 2023

Fundraising partnership engages Sydney youths in recycling competition

Fatina Elabd is a Team Leader with Youth Off The Streets who has begun a competition between staff and young people to recycle as many cans, bottles and cartons as possible through Return and Earn by the end of October.

“It’s a healthy competition with a bit of banter, including some failed attempts to steal bottles from each other,” laughed Fatina.

“The winner or winning team will enjoy a pizza lunch for their efforts.”

Return and Earn launched its fundraising partnership with Youth Off The Streets in April to raise money that will assist young people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage. The charity is the current state-wide appeal, running until 22 October.

All Return and Earn machines list Youth Off The Streets as an option for anyone recycling through the scheme to donate their 10c refund for each container to the charity. Users can also donate using the Return and Earn app by selecting Youth Off The Streets as the payout option.

“Return and Earn is one of the best ways to fundraise—returning containers is such a small thing to do. It’s so easy and anyone can do it,” Fatina said.

Fatina said the benefits of this fundraising couldn’t be overestimated. Even though a 10c container refund doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up fast.

“The need for support among our most vulnerable young people is growing every day, so it was really exciting to know we were partnering with Return and Earn,” said Fatina. “It means we’ll get to have a positive impact on so many more young people’s lives.”

Based in Bankstown, Fatina works with youth across west and southwest Sydney—quite a few of whom are now keenly collecting containers. As soon as the appeal was launched, Fatina started thinking of ways to engage the young people she works with to support the fundraising initiative.

While the competition is a fun activity, she also takes the opportunity to talk about the benefits of recycling – including litter reduction, savings in water, energy, landfill, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

As a keen recycler herself, Fatina has enjoyed seeing more people get involved in container returns for a good cause.

“It’s outstanding to see the community coming together, collecting bottles and donating them to ensure young people in need receive the support and opportunities to help build a positive future,” she said.

“It’s a great way to support local community services.”


Return and Earn is a partnership between the NSW Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator TOMRA Cleanaway.