The EPA has not listed any new sites for Maitland on its 25th January website list of sites for Return and Earn despite an email to the ABC Radio on the same morning promising a machine would be installed “in February”. The email came after Member for Maitland, Ms Jenny Aitchison was quoted on radio raising concerns that Maitland’s sole remaining Over the Counter Container Deposit Collection Point at Woodberry had closed.

Local hoteliers at Woodberry were forced to stop collecting containers as they were not removed by Tomra Cleanaway in a timely manner, and there had been a complaint to Maitland City Council over a shipping container the hoteliers had installed on their premises to store containers prior to collection.

The Woodberry site is still listed on the EPA’s website map of collection points, a week after the hotel stopped taking collections.

With the closure of the container deposit machine at the Kurri Kurri Golf Club, residents of Maitland face at least an hour and a half return trip to either Medowie or Cessnock to deposit their containers. Residents have reported arriving in Cessnock only to find the machine is full, and many have complained to her office about the impost of paying 15 cents extra for beverages with nowhere to return them.

Ms Aitchison has written to the Minister for the Environment demanding to know when and where the machine would be installed. She has not received any response to date.

Ms Aitchison, whose birthday is today has said it was her birthday wish to see the people of Maitland be able to receive 10 cents back from the 15 cents which they have been paying since December, with only limited options for repayment. Ms Aitchison visited the Medowie Return and Earn Reverse Vending Machine on the weekend, and has had a lot of feedback from the community who are disappointed by the botched rollout of the scheme.

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