NEWS EXTRA New Return and Earn machines go online
DUBBO residents frustrated with the automated Return and Earn machines that have been in place for the past few years now have an alternative, after the official opening of a new facility by St Vincent de Paul on Monday.
Open and staffed from Monday to Saturday, 8.30am to 3.30pm, the new bulk deposit depot boasts two machines that can count 100 containers per minute – and you get your cash put straight onto your EFTPOS card.
In the first day of operation more than 25,000 bottles and cans went through the doors and that could go as high as 100,000 each day.
Jon D’astoli is Vinnies Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) project manager and said people love dealing with humans, and all for a good cause.
“We’re very customer-focused at Vinnies, we’ve put a number of these container deposit centres together already and this is the first one in the western plains, so it’ll be a real bonus for the community. I know people are frustrated about some of the delays with the existing service,” Mr D’astoli told
“What we’ve got here is a drivein facility with two machines that basically count and sort the containers at a rate of 100 containers a minute, so it’s very, very fast. The facility is undercover, it’s clean, we’ve got friendly staff and you get you refunds on the spot.
Apart from customers getting their 10 cent refunds, Vinnies uses the proceeds of the handling charge to put towards their good works in the community, he said.
Mr D’astoli said that Vinnies has long-standing and enormous credibility in the community and people are keen to assist the organisation.
“We help 76,000 people who are really struggling – those most vulnerable in our communities – with homelessness services, crisis shelters, affordable housing, food and finance assistance, counselling for those who are dealing with mental health problems, home visits, friendship and a whole lot more,” he said.
“Vinnies is a great brand and we’re very proud to be part of another recycling project. Vinnies is a recycler, lots of people know us through our shops where we repurpose pre-loved clothes, furniture and other things and give them new homes, new owners – and we stop that stuff from going into landfill.”
To date, with its Return and Earn scheme Vinnies has processed more than 35 million containers through its depots based in other cities, and Mr D’astoli says that’s a lot of landfill that they’ve saved. He’s says it’s a “major contribution” that Vinnies continues to make towards recycling in NSW.
“It’s a fast process, it’s a friendly process, we’ve had plenty of customers just in the first half hour, we’ve had people turn up with woolpaks so there’s more than 800 containers in a woolpak; people turn up with boxes full of containers...
“It doesn’t matter, there’s no limit to the number of containers that we can take, it’ll be quick, and with refunds on the spot, you’re guaranteed to be happy,” Mr D’astoli said.
Vinnies gets a handling fee for each of the containers, he explained. “Customers come and get their 10 cents for their containers, but Vinnies gets a handling fee for each of those containers, so for us it’s all about volume.
“People can also donate their containers and, in that way, Vinnies gets the 10 cents as well as the handling fee so that’s a bonus for us and we welcome that,” he said.
Tracey Shillingsworth is CEO of Regional Enterprise Development Institute Ltd (REDI.E) which is a partner in the facility – she was at the launch and excited about its potential.
“REDI is an enterprise organisation that looks at businesses to invest in but we’re also an employment and training organisation for Aboriginal people,” Ms Shillingsworth said.
“In western NSW and remote communities we run a community development program, which is what people know as CDEP, where we have just under 600 job-seekers to either move into work or who want to do activities around their community – that’s just one of the programs we run.
“This is a really great idea because environmentally we need to keep our communities clean and tidy and not have a lot of cans and bottles lying around. I went and had a look at Vinnies’ Penrith setup and we got to talking about one here in Dubbo – how would it run, how would it benefit our community, how hard would it be to set it up?
“We certainly want to build some skills and experience in the warehouse industry, and here you’re out there driving forklifts and moving things around and just managing the business,” she said.
She’s also keen to build volunteer capacity.
“Aboriginal communities have had a very long relationship with St Vincent de Paul and it’s just another partnership and hopefully we can replicate this facility in a few of our more western communities,” she said.
The recycling depot is at 25 Douglas Mawson Road in east Dubbo.
Main photo: Jon D'astoli is the Vinnies Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) project manager. He’s pictured at the new Dubbo facility on its first day this week. Inset: Tracey Shillingsworth from Regional Enterprise Development Institute Ltd. PHOTOS: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS