Don't crush your cans and bottles if you want to cash in with new scheme

Kiera Braund, 12, of Freemans Reach brings in a basket of drink bottles and cans to Windsor Newsagency's Sumit Kumar last week. He has found the new scheme to be working well for him, though it's labour intensive.

Kiera Braund, 12, of Freemans Reach brings in a basket of drink bottles and cans to Windsor Newsagency's Sumit Kumar last week. He has found the new scheme to be working well for him, though it's labour intensive.

IF YOU’RE old enough you’ll remember riding around on your bike, scouring parks for the Cash a Can scheme so you could buy some lollies with the earnings.

Now there’s the new scheme Return and Earn, but so far there are only three in the Hawkesbury – and on investigation by the Gazette, only two are operational. Those are Windsor Newsagency and Windsor Metal Recyclers on Ham Street, South Windsor.

The third depot on the map is the IGA at Kurrajong Heights, but owner Ricky Singh said they hadn’t been given enough training or set-up assistance yet. He said the organisers have said they’ll come out, though not when. He hopes to have it running early in the new year.

The scheme means you can bring drink glass bottles, cans, milk and juice cartons and plastic drink bottles, all uncrushed with the label still on, and get 10c for each. It’s for containers 150ml up to a three litres.

But there are exceptions – no plastic milk bottles, no wine or spirit bottles, no cordial bottles.

Windsor Newsagency owner Sumit Kumar is pleased with how the first two weeks of the scheme have gone. He said people have a handle on what can be redeemed and what can’t, and that the containers can’t be crushed. 

“One woman came in with 700 beer bottles but she rang me first and I said bring them around the back where the bins are.” It took him 40 minutes to process them though. He’s had other people bring in 400 mixed containers, “but 50 is more norma”l. “Often the kids collect them and they come in with a parent and the money is divided up by how many containers each kid collected. They’re actually very excited.”

As soon as at least three of his secure bins are full he rings the contractor and they take them away, count them and reimburse him the 10c for each container he’s paid out, with a little extra.

“It’s bringing more people to the business, you get to talk to them, then they come back,” he said. Sometimes they spend their earnings on items like scratchies while they’re there

Windsor Metal Recyclers’ owner Ken Blakeley said the scheme was having “a lot of teething problems”, especially with the scheme’s reverse vending machines where you deposit the container in and get money back out, but that overall it was a great idea. 

“We’ve bought nearly 20,000 containers already,” he said. “But because they won’t collect crushed ones, I’ve had five pickups so far. In the old system [when they’re crushed] I wouldn’t have had one pickup yet. “

He said the contractor who picks them up only gets $200 a truckload as they aren’t crushed and take up so much room.