What to do with your Return and Earn cans in lockdown

·News Reporter
·4-min read

As NSW continues grappling with strict lockdown restrictions and stay-at-home orders, people are starting to unexpectedly miss some previously taken-for-granted services.

One of which is the NSW Government’s Return and Earn program, which encourages the recycling of bottles and cans in return for cash.

Those who regularly use the recycling service have now been left with "mountains" of cans and bottles which have been piling up during lockdown.

Taking to Facebook, one person asked: “What's everyone doing with all the bottles accumulated for return and earn?”

“Is there still somewhere we can take them or will I be forced to add them to my normal recycling?”

A hand drops a bottle into a chute at a NSW Government Return and Earn centre. Source: Getty Images
The New South Wales Government has temporarily some Return and Earn sites, but they will start to reopen from this week. Source: Getty Images

Her post was met with hundreds of comments with people equally as confused.

“I’d love to know. I’ve started putting them in the yellow again because I just can’t store them all,” one person answered.

“I’m trying to hang on to them as I always took to my bottles to a Return and Earn deposit centre and donate the money to a charity,” another said,

“We’re sitting on a gold mine in bottles at the moment,” added a third.

What can you do?

The NSW Government’s program has been shut down across lockdown areas, with all return points in Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour temporarily closed due to Public Health Orders.

But they have started reopening this week with the Blue Mountains, Camden, Canada Bay, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Mosman, Northern Beaches, some suburbs of Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Sutherland, Sydney, The Hills, Waverley, Wollondilly and Wollongong local government areas reopening from September 15.

From September 29 return points in Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, remaining suburbs of Penrith, and Strathfield local government areas will commence reopening.

Return and Earn vending machine. Source: Getty Images
With Return and Earn vending machines in Sydney closed, people have started looking for alternatives. Source: Getty Images

But what can you do with the cans and bottles usually recycled at Return and Earn centres if you can't get to one or your local one is closed?

For those who religiously collect their recyclable bottles, and have now ended up with mountains of cans and nowhere to take them, there are alternatives.

ReCollect Service

ReCollect is essentially a return and earn system, except they come to you. All you need to do is register online, download the app and book an appointment.

The service not only picks up bottles & cans, they also take clothing and old electronics off your hands too, for free!

All you need to do is set your bottles or cans outside on the day of pickup in large garbage bags. They will be collected between 8am and 5pm and that’s it!

To collect your money you simply log in to the app and click on redemption. Earnings will be sent via direct deposit.

Details: re-collect.com.au.

Lane Cove Return and Earn

While the Lane Cove Return and Earn centre is currently closed, the facility has changed up its service to pick up from an extended range of local government areas throughout Sydney.

While the service is not available in the eight LGA’s that are of high risk, those in other areas can organise a pick-up.

Hands hold crushed soft drink cans. Source Getty Images
Before you decide to ditch your cans, there are other alternatives toi Retrun and Earn machines available. Source Getty Images

The centre also offers a bin collection service.

For a one-off $50 payment they deliver you a yellow bin which can store all cans and bottles in. Once it’s full you simply call and organise a collection.

Details: lanecovereturnandearn.com.au.

Red Frog Recycling

Red Frog Recycling is another business currently offering a pick-up service, however, due to Covid-19, there are some restrictions to their service currently.

The facility is currently running their Tag'n'Go Depot Drop off service to residents of the Camden LGA only.

There are strict Covid-guidelines in place that customers must follow. Check their website for full details.

Details: redfrogrecycling.com.au.

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