First Return and Earn reverse vending machine to open in Orange

It's coming: A reverse vending machine is expected to be operational at North Dubbo Woolworths by the middle of the month. Photo: DANIEL MUNOZ
It's coming: A reverse vending machine is expected to be operational at North Dubbo Woolworths by the middle of the month. Photo: DANIEL MUNOZ

Orange will receive its first Return and Earn reverse vending machine at the Woolworths North Orange shopping centre later this month.

Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW Rick Colless said he had been assured progress is being made and the plan is to have the machine operational by January 15.

Mr Colless said he had spoken to a representative of TOMRA Cleanaway, the network operator for the container deposit scheme.

He was told discussions between the operator and the property owners had taken longer than expected but had been resolved and he expected construction to start shortly.

Residents have been frustrated that they haven’t had anywhere to return their used containers and obtain a refund since the scheme began on December 1.

“We appreciate that people have had to wait but those negotiations were what was holding things up,” Mr Colless said.

“I have also been told by TOMRA Cleanaway they have been having discussions with Orange City Council about other potential sites. I’ve spoken to mayor Reg Kidd and he confirmed those discussions were happening.”

Mr Colless said the long-term plan was to have three collection points at Orange.

The government’s roll out of collection points has been heavily criticised since the scheme launched.

In western NSW only a handful of towns had collection points and some people were required to drive hundreds of kilometres to claim a refund. Parkes and Lithgow will also receive reverse vending machines by the end of the month.

Currently the reverse vending machine at Metro Fuels in Bathurst is the nearest collection point for Orange residents, with Cowra and Wellington the next closest locations.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said 20 million containers had been collected after just over a month of the scheme. 

Tuesday was the biggest day of the scheme so far with 1.3 million containers returned to collection points.