Return and Earn report reveals more than 74 million bottles returned in Port Stephens in past three years

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Port Stephens Examiner

Charlie Elias

When it comes to recycling bottles and cartons, the residents of Port Stephens have proven to be among the best in the state.

Local Government Network Collection Volumes Report on the state government’s Return and Earn scheme has revealed that Port residents out-perform, on average, many other local government areas of similar size and population when it comes to recycling drink receptacles.

This compares favourably with neighbouring councils Cessnock (61,050,560) and Maitland (53,875,439) over the same period of time.

For the six month period ending June 2020, Port residents deposited close to 15.5 million items, nearly double the first six month period ending June 2018 (7.87 million).

Releasing the report at the end of December, a Return and Earn spokesperson said that it was pleasing to see a community-wide shift in attitudes to waste with the tonnes of drink containers returned for recycling over the past three years.

“Return and Earn continues to be an outstanding success with more than 4.8 billion containers returned for recycling through the scheme’s state-wide network,” the spokesperson said.

“The Port Stephens community is an enthusiastic contributor to this success through its eight return points since the scheme launched and more than $7.4 million in refunds back into the hands of the community.”

The Port’s return points are located at Nelson Bay Newsagency [over the counter], Woolworths Medowie, Salamander Bay Square, Muree Golf Club Raymond Terrace, Coles Tanilba Bay, Fingal Bay Sports Club, Tomago Bowling Club and Terrace Central Raymond Terrace.

Port Stephens charities, schools and community groups who have benefited from the scheme as donation partners at local return points, giving participants the option of donating some or all of their refund to them, have included: Port Stephens Koalas, the Hunter Community Legal Centre Inc, Port Stephens Family & Neighbourhood Services, Shoal Bay Public School P&C, Youth Express Association Incorporated, Irrawang Public School P&C Association, Tomaree Neighbourhood Centre, Medowie Lions Club, Tanilba Bay Public P&C Association, Centre for Hope, Irrawang High School and Soldiers Point Public School P&C Association.

The Return and Earn spokesperson said that while Port Stephens Council did not currently host a return point, the network operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, was in ongoing discussions with the council regarding future opportunities to partner on return point locations.

Unfortunately in Port Stephens, two of the units located in carparks at the Fingal Bay Sports Club and Terrace Central shopping centre continue to be the subject of noise complaints from nearby residents.

Return figures for other Hunter Region LGAs:

  • Dungog: 1,089,456
  • Lake Macquarie: 149,757,058
  • Muswellbrook: 19,845,714
  • Singleton: 23,033,747
  • Upper Hunter Shire: 11,860,160
  • Newcastle: 113,554,705