Bay Hotel Motel, at Bonnells Bay, receives 60,000 containers in first month as Return and Earn over-the-counter collection point

DON'T STOMP: Cans presented at Return and Earn locations must not be crushed, and beer and water bottles must have their labels intact. Wine bottles are not accepted. Picture:  Fairfax Media
DON'T STOMP: Cans presented at Return and Earn locations must not be crushed, and beer and water bottles must have their labels intact. Wine bottles are not accepted. Picture: Fairfax Media

IT seems punters can’t get enough of the 10 cents on offer for each container they collect under the state government’s Return and Earn scheme to encourage recycling of cans and bottles.

The Bay Hotel Motel, at Bonnells Bay, has accepted more than 60,000 cans and bottles since becoming a Return and Earn collection point at the start of the month.

On the day the Lakes Mail dropped in at the hotel’s bottle shop to see how locals were responding to the scheme, it was a full house.

“We just couldn’t take any today,” bottle shop manager, Paul Frazer, said.

Normally, the bottle shop accepts returned containers from 10am to 2pm daily.

But with its storage areas full, and the government contractor, Cleanaway, yet to make its weekly collection of returned cans and bottles from the bottle shop, Mr Frazer and his staff were reluctantly asking customers to bring their returned containers back later in the week.

“Cleanaway collects them once a week. We’re close to warranting two collections a week,” Mr Frazer said.

It’s still early days for Return and Earn, but it seems the roll-out and implementation of the scheme might need to be tweaked.

The Bay Hotel Motel is one of just two Return and Earn collection points in Lake Macquarie. (The other is at Redhead.)

The nearest reverse vending machines are at Bateau Bay and Lisarow.

Mr Frazer said the early feedback from customers suggested that people preferred the over-the-counter service offered at the bottle shop, rather than feeding their containers into a machine.

He said customers who had been to reverse vending machines said the over-the-counter system was far easier. So that means customers have been prepared to travel to return their containers.

Several residents from the Gosford area had made the trek to Bonnells Bay to cash in, he said.

“We’re also getting quite a few people from the Blackalls Park area. Some are coming in with their bottles and cans, and then coming into the hotel to have lunch.”

Mr Frazer said there were a few requirements that customers should be aware of when returning their containers.

“Containers should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and have the original label attached,” he said.

Having the containers intact enabled their barcodes to be scanned during processing.

Wine, spirits, cordial and plain milk containers are generally not eligible.

Mr Frazer encouraged locals to get into the habit of placing their empty cans or bottles back into the cartons they came in, then delivering them weekly for processing at the bottle shop.

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