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Return and earn - some observations and a big positive for drought affected farmers

The Beagle Editor, The NSW Return & Earn program started on December 1 last year. To date 204 million cans and bottles have been returned, or an average of 51 million a month. Every month, beverage companies sell 389 million bottles and cans that are subject to the NSW scheme, meaning an average of just 13 per cent of bottles and cans are being brought back. Most of the remaining containers end up at the tip either as waste or recycled, without the deposit being returned. Each month, this 87 per cent of all can and bottle deposits not refunded are kept by the drink manufacturers according to the Australian newspaper. On a rate of 13 per cent of bottles being returned, the manufacturers pocket $34m a month, or more than $400m a year. My view is that the manufacturers have no moral right to these sums and the NSW Govt, who initiated the scheme, should direct that these unearned funds (that you & I are paying) be channelled instead towards charitable causes such as a Buy a Bale.

Above: Tomra Cleanaway NSW – Return and Earn - Image sourced from

TOMRA (the people behind the reverse vending machines) CEO Ryan Buzzell said after seeing the harsh reality facing farmers and being inspired by the wider NSW community’s eagerness to band together, they were keen to get involved. “With an average of two million containers being returned every day across NSW, if everyone donated just one of every 10 containers they return, we would raise up to $20,000 a day for NSW farmers,” he said‘ Perhaps all returnable containers could be directed to Buy a Bale, at least until the drought breaks. Kim Odgers Batemans Bay **************************************************************************************************************************************** Return and Earn Network operator TOMRA announced the drought relief charity was to become an official donation partner on Reverse Vending Machines (RVM’s) from August 27th. It takes 200 containers to provide one small hay bale for farmers with 1,100 containers purchasing a large hay bale, and every 95,000 containers is the equivalent of a semi-trailer load of hay. 20 containers buys a litre of diesel-200 containers buys a bale of hay to feed livestock-600 containers puts food on the table of a farming family The ‘Buy a Bale’ barcode (below) can be found on the myTOMRA Australia Facebook page or at, and scanned before recycling at the front of every RVM.

myTOMRA Australia used their social media channels to tell their community that over 99% of NSW is now officially in drought with 15% in severe drought. "OUR farmers are suffering beyond imagination. They face a daily battle to feed their livestock and their families. As a result, TOMRA is partnering with Buy a Bale of Hay - Making a difference to Australian Farming Families to help raise much-needed funds for feed, water and fuel – and we need YOUR help." "Use this #BuyABale barcode and donate your containers at ANY Return and Earn machine to help our farmers. Every container counts! How to donate: 1) Take this barcode image to any Return and Earn machine 2) BEFORE you insert any containers, scan the barcode under the scanner 3) Check the words “Buy a Bale” are confirmed on the screen – you’ll also hear an audible “beep” 4) Return your containers. 5) Press the yellow “Paypal” button on the screen to complete your contribution. Do not press the "Donate" button in this case.

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