26 September 2023

After work drinks to turn lucrative

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The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is set to expand its successful Return and Earn scheme to accept more types of containers, including wine and spirit bottles and larger containers.

Calling for feedback on the topic, the EPA said the expansion would see up to an additional 400 million eligible bottles recycled each year, including 233 million glass bottles.

Welcoming the plan, Minister for Environment, James Griffin said the expansion would also boost recycling rates, reduce landfill, and supercharge the State’s push towards a circular economy.

“We already accept beer, cider and a range of other beverage containers through Return and Earn, and now we are looking to include glass wine and spirits bottles and larger drink containers,” Mr Griffin said.

“Return and Earn began as a litter reduction tool, and since then, it’s become incredibly popular with almost 80 per cent of adults in NSW having used the scheme, which has more than 620 return points across the State,” he said.

“Since Return and Earn began in 2017, more than eight billion containers have been returned, delivering $800 million in refunds to the people of NSW, more than $35 million in donations to community groups and charities, and helping us reduce drink container litter by a massive 52 per cent.”

Mr Griffin said consultation was open until 2 December on the Scheme’s expansion, which would see almost all beverage containers between 150ml and three litres accepted for refund.

He said this would include glass wine and spirits bottles, cordial and juice concentrate, and larger containers up to three litres of beverages already in the scheme, such as flavoured milk, fruit and vegetable juice, cask wine and sachets.

The Minister said plain milk and health tonics would continue to be excluded from the scheme.

Further information on the proposed expansion of Return and Earn and the chance to have a say can be accessed at this PS News link.

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