Ian Kiernan, Clean-Up Australia; Garry Harding, City of Sydney; Jeff Angel, Total Environment Centre.

23 June 2014 — The City of Sydney is trialling “reverse vending machines” for drink cans and bottles that offer users a small gift or donation to charity.

The move has been made to cut down on the city’s litter, but also to voice the council’s support for a national cash for container scheme as a “long-term, sustainable solution” to the problem of beverage container litter.

“Around the world container deposit schemes have produced record recycling results,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said. “South Australia’s scheme has achieved recycling rates of up to 90 per cent – double the rate of NSW.

Ms Moore said container deposit schemes significantly increased recycling, reduced waste and protected wildlife and the environment from plastic pollution.? ?“We’re taking what action we can to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, but will continue to lobby state and federal governments for reform on this issue,” she said.

Rewards users can receive include a 10-cent donation to charity, two-for-one food truck vouchers and entry to a draw for two tickets to Sydney New Year’s Eve Dawes Point viewing area.

The machines, located at Circular Quay and Haymarket can hold up to 2000 containers each before needing to be emptied. They are joined by a giant ten-cent-piece sculpture made from around 3000 recyclable bottles outside Customs House.

Figures from Clean-Up Australia show beverage containers account for over one-third of all reported rubbish in NSW, and there are around 40,000 injuries from broken glass bottles in Australia a year with 5000 requiring medical treatment.

More information.