New "reverse vending machine" in Glen Innes a huge hit

The state's champion recycler. Charlie Crouch depositing another 52 bottles and cans. He's with Adam Marshall MP.
The state's champion recycler. Charlie Crouch depositing another 52 bottles and cans. He's with Adam Marshall MP.

New figures for the new recycling machine in the Glen Innes Woolworths car park show that in the month or so it’s been open 239,000 cans and bottles have been deposited.

On a rough calculation, that means that about 4,000 cans and bottles are being returned there every day.

Even that, though, isn’t the highest in the area. In the first five days of the “Return and Earn” machine in Armidale, 28,000 cans and bottles were returned – 5,000 to 6,000 every day.

The figures which came from the office of Northern Tablelands MP, Adam Marshall, are Inverell – 336,000 cans and bottles; Glen Innes – 239,000; Armidale  - 28,000 (this collection point has only been open for five days); Guyra – 23,000.

Thousands of cans going to one machine every day.

It’s hard to put these into a league table because each machine has been open for a different length of time, but Mr Marshall reckons that New England is now one of the biggest recyclers through these machines in the state.

“After well over one million containers returned by people across the Northern Tablelands, our region is depositing containers at three times the state average”, he said.

There is one lad in Moree who has collected 5,000 used cans in three weeks – a rate of return of more than $150 a week – not bad for a nine-year-old. Mr Marshall pronounced Charlie Crouch “the state’s top recycler” who had collected “more cans and bottles than any other individual anywhere in NSW”.

Mr Marshall urged more businesses to come forward as collecting points and for community groups to get involved to raise money: “With money to be made, I encourage businesses to consider signing up as a collection point, and community groups to make the most of the scheme as a fundraising opportunity.”

In Glen Innes, a new breed of entrepreneur has sprung up – people who scour public land for discarded bottles which they can turn into money. Young people have been spotted groing round old people’s homes asking for empties.

One of Glen's new recycling entrepreneurs.

One of Glen's new recycling entrepreneurs.