RETURN AND CHURN: ANOTHER CONTAINER DEPOSIT FAIL


Member for Maitland, Jenny Aitchison MP has condemned the Berejiklian Government for its failure to support small businesses who have signed up to implement its Return and Earn scheme.

The Tenambit Takeaway store was operating as an Over-the-Counter-Collection point but as a result of the Government's failure to introduce more collection points in the Maitland area, the store has been forced to stop participating in the scheme.

Ms Aitchison has met with Tenambit store owners a number of times since the scheme has been operating, and on Wednesday spoke to one of the owners of the Takeaway. They have been experiencing lots of difficulties with the scheme.

The Government has introduced reverse vending machine collection points in neighbouring electorates like Cessnock, Wallsend and Upper Hunter. These machines allow individuals to deposit their recyclable material in larger quantities without disrupting small businesses.

The bungled roll out has placed an overwhelming pressure on small business people who just wanted to support recycling in NSW and meet the need in communities like Maitland which have been overlooked by the Government in the roll out of reverse vending machines.

It’s led to a situation where some businesses have been forced to store hundreds of cans and bottles as the company who organises the pickups was not responding to requests and collecting the containers quickly enough to cope with demand. In one situation staff from a collection point had to use bathroom amenities in another shop as theirs had been filled up with containers waiting for collection. Store owners have also risked having their containers stolen while waiting for collection by having to leave them outside the premises.

Small business collection points were owed up to $5,000 in cash that they had already paid out to consumers for the 10 cent refund. Some businesses have been slammed by people wanting to return containers during their peak trading times.

Nearby businesses have complained of people dumping containers that are not covered by the scheme and cardboard boxes used to transport them in local shopping centre garbage bins once they have returned their containers. This has created significant additional garbage and litter in some shopping centres.

The roll out of the Return and Earn scheme has been deeply flawed and placed stress and financial pressure on both small businesses and consumers across NSW. Ms Aitchison is calling upon the Government to immediately introduce reverse vending machines into the Maitland electorate to cope with the amount of recyclable material being deposited.

Quotes attributable to Jenny Aitchison MP, Member for Maitland:

"The Berejiklian Government failed to consult with small businesses and consumers about the Return and Earn scheme. As a result, its rollout has been bungled from day one."

"The people of Maitland deserve better than this. Minister Upton must immediately intervene to introduce reverse vending machines in our area."

“Labor has been telling the Government for months they haven’t got this right. It’s about time they started dealing fairly with small businesses and ensuring the viability of the scheme.”

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