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Cessnock, Lake Mac residents have millions of reasons to celebrate


As NSW acknowledges a major Return and Earn milestone, Cessnock and Lake Macquarie locals have millions of reasons to join the celebrations.

The state recently reached 11 billion containers recycled, while Lower Hunter residents cast-off an incredible 503,359,231 bottles, cans and cartons through numerous machines within the region.

Across the two LGAs, the collective recycling efforts are making a difference.

In fact, the positive impact is equivalent to:

  • Energy savings equal to the average annual use of 1,445 households in Cessnock City and 3,805 households in Lake Macquarie
  • CO2 emissions avoided equal to taking 22,426 cars off the road for a year
  • Water savings that could fill 1,183 Olympic swimming pools

Charities and local community groups and schools are also benefitting from the scheme, with a massive $54 million raised state-wide via donated refunds and return point hosting fees.

“Congratulations to residents across the Cessnock electorate for making Return and Earn part of your regular routine,” Cessnock MP Clayton Barr said.

“Your enthusiastic participation is playing an important role in growing our domestic circular economy and achieving a more sustainable future.

“Recycling your eligible bottles, cartons and cans through Return and Earn is an easy way for all of us to help the environment and support the work of some amazing local charities.”

Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Penny Sharpe was equally-enthusiastic.

“In six short years, Return and Earn has become a shining example of what’s possible when we all work together to recycle our valuable container resources to make NSW a better place,” she said.

“Return and Earn delivers so many environmental, social and economic benefits.

“It puts money back into people’s pockets to supporting the vital work of charities.”

Meanwhile, the Return and Earn outlet at the Cameron Park Shopping Centre will be upgraded to a next-generation machine, which accepts all eligible containers in each of its chutes.

The move aims to reduce queuing and sorting times for recyclers in the area.

However, the facility will close at 10pm on Sunday 3 March and re-open at 7am on Friday 8 March.

“Residents in the Lake Macquarie LGA are enthusiastic recyclers, having returned more than 370 million eligible bottles, cartons and cans through Return and Earn since the scheme started in December 2017,” a Return and Earn spokesperson said.

“That equates to more than $37 million in container refunds being returned to the community.

“So, we appreciate the community’s patience during the upgrade.”

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