Two needs with one deed
Not only has the AU$94,000 helped animals in need, but it means that 940,000 bottles and containers have been responsibly recycled and turned into new containers or other products, rather than added to landfills or littered in the community. 940,000 containers equate to over 6 million liters of water being saved, 114 tons of CO2 emissions being prevented, and nearly 57 tons of resources being diverted from landfills. As a result, with every bottle recycled, both waste and harm to the planet are reduced, and the closed-loop recycling is contributing to a growing circular economy.
According to Danielle Smalley, CEO of the scheme coordinator Return and Earn, “Return and Earn has become a stalwart of fundraising activities in NSW, with thousands of community groups, schools, and charities raising funds through the scheme.” Consequently, the ability to recycle plastic with the choice to donate refunds to various charities means recyclers can use Return and Earn to fill two needs with one deed.
Since the start of the Return and Earn in December 2017, numerous community groups and charities across the state have been helped, with AU$40 million having been raised as of January 2023. Previously, the Bottles for the Bush appeal raised AU$500,000 to support rural Australians affected by droughts and bushfires and, recently, Starlight Children’s Foundation raised over AU$120,000 from container returns, enough to brighten the lives of 3,142 hospitalized children.