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Sydney Is Getting More of Those Nifty Recycling Vending Machines

Trade your Coke cans for food truck vouchers.
By Shannon Connellan
June 29, 2015
By Shannon Connellan
June 29, 2015

Sydneysiders need no longer hypothesise about taking all their cans to South Australia, you'll be able to nab a tiny return right here. In a initiative launched by the City of Sydney in June last year (modelled on successful overseas ventures), a series of vending machines have been rewarding recyclers for throwing in their empty plastic bottles or cans. Sure, the rewards might be food truck vouchers. But it's something.

The machines have been feeding on bottles in Circular Quay for the last twelve months, a successful trial which saw the machines recycle over 75,000 beverage containers — enough to build a tower 30 times the height of Sydney's Centrepoint Tower. Now the City of Sydney is adding two more machines, one at Wynyard and one in Redfern.

These chomping vendors can hold up to 3000 bottles and cans each before reaching capacity. Feeding one of the machines isn't rewarding recyclers in cash money yet, instead you'll nab little freebies — two-for-one food truck vouchers, ten cent donations to charity or entry into the draw for New Year's Eve Dawes Point tickets, bus tickets or an iPad mini.

A prevalent and well-established project in the U.S, Norway and Germany, these 'reverse vending machines' have been proven to achieve colossal recycling rates — South Australia's rose up to 90 percent (double the rate of NSW). City of Sydney reported that 15,000 bottles and cans are currently chucked into landfill every minute Australia-wide. That's a crapload of Coke cans. Contrary to our smug, uppity recycling faces, just over 40 percent of bottles and cans are recycled annually in NSW. People are still throwing their Mount Franklins in with their banana peels.

But this is a solid step forward for Sydney. "It's fantastic that Sydneysiders are using these machines to help us turn rubbish into a useful resource," says Lord Mayor Clover Moore. "The success of these machines shows that people are actively looking for options to recycle, and we thank Sydneysiders for their recycling efforts so far." The Lord Mayor has confirmed the City of Sydney is now calling for a national container deposit scheme like this one, as a long-term sustainable solution to beverage container waste.

While we're not sure if a few raffle tickets will be enough incentive for Sydneysiders to recycle their Passiona cans, it's certainly a start.

Recycle your cans at Circular Quay near the A to D bus stands, and (coming soon) on the Wynyard Park side of Erskine Street in the CBD, and at Redfern Village on the corner of Redfern and Regent Streets.

Image: City of Sydney.

Published on June 29, 2015 by Shannon Connellan
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