Orange schoolboy Charlie McLaughlin has embraced the Return and Earn scheme for bottles and cans to recycle his way to a payout of more than $200.
The six-year-old Year 1 student at Calare Public School has collected 2150 cans and bottles from friends, family and at his own home since January to set an example for the rest of the community.
And mum Lara has urged schools and other people to follow his lead of gaining 10 cents for every item recycled into Orange’s two Return and Earn machines.
“Family and friends have always helped us by keeping their bottles aside,” she said.
To be six years old and collecting your first $100 is not bad.Lara McLaughlin, Charlie's mum
“We collect them weekly. Our neighbours have been instrumental in collecting bottles for us.
“There is a bit of bartering, we give them eggs [in return].”
And she said that whenever they saw bottle and cans lying around they picked them up and added to their pile.
Ms McLaughlin said Charlie was pleased with his rewards.
“We cashed in the tokens. He’s got the cash and he’s saving it,” she said.
“To be six-years-old and collecting your first $100 is not bad.”
Ms McLaughlin said apart from the cash Charlie was learning about the community benefits of recycling.
“He’s learning about the environment. He knows plastic on the side of the road is not good for the environment,” she said.
However, Charlie said that while other students knew about his efforts it had not led many to join him.
“Yeah, they just say nothing,” he said.
Ms McLaughlin said it was a pity as it could benefit schools financially.
“No they’re not and it’s sad,” she said.
Ms McLaughlin said she worked at the school canteen once a week.
“The canteen sells [recyclable] Moove drinks, Up and Go’s, poppers,” she said.
“The school could dedicate bins to them.
“There is an opportunity for schools. There’d have to be 50-100 drinks on a Friday sold. That’s potentially $5-$10 a week.”
The latest figures on the performance of our Return and Earn machines show they have not been used as much as those in Dubbo and Bathurst.
Machines at the north Orange shopping centre and Flip Out in Edward Street have taken 6,398,147 items.
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