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29 JAN 2021

Kurrajong-a-buzz for recycling

Even the birds and the bees benefit from Return and Earn in Kurrajong.

Elizabeth Docking, founder of Kurrajong-a-Buzz – a community initiative to promote the importance of pollinators – returns containers through the NSW scheme to fund regenerating native plants. While bees are the best-known pollinators, Elizabeth explains that native bees, bats, butterflies, beetles and birds are all also pollinators, and they all rely on native plants.

“These animals and insects disperse pollen and seeds throughout the forest, which is vital to generating new growth,” says Elizabeth. “The koala and bird populations were affected by the bushfires last summer, so right now we really need these pollinators to help regenerate the habitats.”

Elizabeth uses her Return and Earn refunds to buy native plants from a local nursery to replace plants that have died in a local park. She says she was inspired to begin container recycling after attending a Keep Australia Beautiful Awards night in Orange.

“Some of the awards were sponsored by Return and Earn, and they asked the question at that event, ‘Who has used Return and Earn?’ I was embarrassed to realise I hadn’t, and so I decided to change that,” she says.

While Elizabeth has been collecting containers for a couple of years and putting the refunds aside, she only began planting natives this spring. She was waiting for the right time of year and enough rainfall. So far, she has returned 1,000 containers and planted a remarkable 50 natives – sold at the local nursery for just $2 each.

Elizabeth says she expects to see an increase in pollinators around her natives by the end of summer.

She collects contains with her husband, picking up containers they find when they go for walks, and collecting at social events or community events.

“I enjoy it,” she says. “So, it’s good for the environment, and good for me.”

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