by Bob Anthony
TWEED residents looking to earn a little extra cash over the holidays are making their way to Chinderah to cash in on NSW's new Return and Earn program.
The scheme which delivers 10 cents for each specified recyclable container, mainly stubbies, cans and plastic bottles, follows similar operations in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Queensland is considering introducing their own container deposit scheme in July this year but in the interim, the lure of cashing in at NSW's expense has already started.
The Return and Earn facility at Chinderah is one of two on the Tweed, the other being at the Woolworths carpark at Kingscliff Shopping Village, with more mooted as the program is expanded through the state.
Introduced in December, the scheme is already proving extremely popular, especially over the holidays with locals and visitors queuing up to cash in.
Bilambil Heights resident Marshall Lean brought eight milk crates worth of recyclable containers to the automated facility to recoup some of his Christmas cheer.
"This lot represents what we enjoyed over the Christmas/New Year period and it is a good way of getting something back for the effort of bringing them down here to Chinderah from Bilambil Heights,” Mr Lean said.
"Admittedly some of these stubbies came from across the border - I buy alcohol depending on where I am working but they all add up.
"I put all the bottles in and get a voucher back which can be cashed in at Woolies so it all helps towards the next purchase.”
Waiting patiently with his children to reap his "recycling rewards” was Tweed Heads' Vaughen Maiden who also brought several crates of empties accumulated over the festive season.
"I'd heard about this and when I found out it was here we collected what we had and brought them down,” he said.
"The kids may have helped collecting the empties but the money is going into my Pay Pal account which you can create through the website. That way, anything you deposit can accumulate in your account.
"It reminds me of when we were kids collecting cans to cash in - it helps the environment so I think it's a good idea.”
Word has spread about the facility next at the BP service station on Chinderah Bay Rd with Sydney holiday-maker Gordon Hulley bringing his boxes of empties to Chinderah not knowing about the location of the Kingscliff Return and Earn.
"We used the recycling machine in Sydney before coming up here on holidays,” he said.
"I think they area a good idea, there should be more of them about the place.”
He was facing a long wait while another couple loaded up the plastic and can acceptor after emptying out several large garbage bags - one which broke while being dragged to the machine. Some recyclers have still to grasp the concept and just what can and can't be recycled.
One woman had several soft drink bottles, some newspapers and some plastic food containers which would not be accepted. Beside the machine where several cardboard cartons continuing wine bottles and crushed cans which were rejected by the machine.
If cashing in on the festive season seems like a worthwhile idea, consider this - time is money and if you would like to make some, make sure you have plenty of time on hand.