By VINNIE RODI

WENTWORTH Shire residents have been assured that they can take full advantage of the New South Wales’ new ‘Return and Earn’, 10-cent refund container deposit scheme.

Officially launched on December 1, Shire residents were left scratching their heads last week after various media reports indicated that the region may not have a collection point under the first stage of the scheme rollout.

Channings Dareton owner, Angela Channing, however, said this simply wasn’t the case, indicating that her business, located at 1845 Silver City Highway, Dareton (the old Coomealla Packers site) had been named a collection point under the scheme.

“We’ve been officially up and running since December 1, with quite a number of locals, especially young people looking to earn a bit of extra pocket money, bringing in eligible cans and bottles,” she said.

Eligible drink containers include most 150ml to three-litre drink containers made from glass, plastic, aluminium, steel or liquid paperboard. Those looking to take advantage of the scheme must also provide proof of being a NSW resident.

The ‘Return and Earn’ scheme is being hailed as the largest litter reduction scheme ever introduced in NSW, and aims to reduce the volume of litter in the State by 40 percent by 2020.

Drink container litter makes up 44 percent of all litter in NSW, and costs more than $162million to manage.

The NSW Government is rolling the scheme out in stages, with Return and Earn to be delivered through a two-part structure – a scheme co-ordinator will be responsible for financial management, ensuring that the Scheme meets its Statewide access and recovery targets and community education, while a Network Operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, is setting up and running a Statewide network of collection points.

Wentworth Mayor Melisa Hederics said the scheme was an important step forward in reducing waste.

“Council has welcomed the news of the Container Deposit Scheme going live,” she said. “Councils across NSW have been lobbying Government for years to introduce such a scheme.

“As part of Council’s commitment to reducing hazardous waste and the volume of litter, we have established a Community Recycling Centre (CRC) at the Buronga Landfill for those difficult to dispose of options such as paint, gas bottles, fire extinguishers, motor and other oils, batteries, smoke detectors and fluoro globes and tubes,” she said.

“We encourage community members to utilise the CRC when you have a shed clean out.”

Not all Wentworth Shire residents, however, have welcomed the scheme. One resident, who did not want to be named, said they had already noticed a difference in the price of soft drink and other bottled goods compared to Victorian prices.

They said it had proved enough to turn them away from shopping in the Wentworth Shire area.

“Some people just can’t afford to pay to cover the cost of the scheme, especially those who won’t be able to collect cans and bottles and ‘cash in’ when needed. I also feel for the pubs and clubs in the Wentworth Shire who work really hard to offer competitive prices and who have to contend with this price hike.”

For more NSW CDS information, visit www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/recycling-and-reuse/return-and-earn.