IT might not be in Orange, but an automated bulky recycling depot in Bathurst could still work in its favour.
The depot is part of the NSW Government’s Return and Earn container deposit scheme and is the only one of its type in the region.
Located at Bathurst Recycling in Upfold Street at Gormans Hill, the depot can count and sort 100 items a minute.
Manager Craig Clark said the business was investigating a way to collect containers eligible for the Return and Earn program from businesses across the region, while still returning the full 10-cent refund.
“For every bottle we get, we receive a small commission, a small fee so we need enough bottles to do that,” he said.
Mr Clark said it would provide an alternative for businesses in areas where there were limited Return and Earn outlets, as well as saving them the trouble of individually feeding the containers in.
“It’s a great scheme, we’ve just got to make it easier,” he said.
He said there were already businesses dropping off 500 containers a day.
Bathurst now has four collection points, while Orange still has only one, a reverse vending machine located at the North Orange Shopping Centre car park.
Member for Orange Phil Donato said Orange clearly needed more.
“We were supposed to get three initially and we’ve received one,” he said.
“We need more than one to service a town our size and population.”
Bathurst MP Paul Toole acknowledged the rollout had been handled poorly and fell below government and community expectations – the NSW government promised to have 85 per cent of the proposed 500 Return and Earn sites running by December 1, but just 230 were operational and 80 per cent of them were in Sydney.
Bathurst did not receive its first Return and Earn machine until three weeks after the rollout date and the wait was seven weeks for Orange.
“They should have delayed [the rollout] by a number of months to ensure that they had more reverse vending machines on the ground before they started the implementation of it,” Mr Toole said.
“They were caught on the backfoot and then they’ve been playing catch up ever since.
“That’s what caused a lot of angst and a lot of frustration out there in the community.
Mr Toole encouraged businesses across the region to embrace the scheme and contact Bathurst Recycling about the opportunities of using the bulky recycling depot.
Users will soon be able to choose to donate their 10 cent an item refund to Lifeline Central West.