The Snowy Valleys Council has approved funding of a recycling buy-back facility at the Tumut Community Recycling Centre at Gilmore.
The new initiative will involve local residents being able to sell recyclable items such as plastic and glass bottles and drink cans to the centre for 10 cents a piece, and is expected to be in place by December this year.
Snowy Valleys Waste and Environment Manager Ken Fletcher travelled last week on a research trip to South Australia to investigate successful buy-back centres in places like Mt Gambier, with the Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils.
“We were looking at how the buy-back centres work and how we can implement one here,” he said.
“We’re working on the building design right now.”
He said the success of the program in South Australia, the guinea pig state for the buy-back idea, was first-hand evidence of the effect it could have locally. $60 million went to charities, individuals, and community groups selling bottles and cans to buy-back centres last year alone in that state.
“A lot of what we call litter won’t be litter anymore, it will actually be worth money,” he explained.
“Looking at what happens in South Australia was great. People there don’t tend to throw containers into garbage bins anywhere, either in public places or in their homes, and a lot of money moves around.
“It also creates employment and keeps the parks and gardens cleaner.
“I didn’t see a single container on the roadside within 60 kilometres of Mt Gambier, it was very encouraging.”
Snowy Valleys Council is working with consultant Garry Mayes on the design for the new building, which is expected to result in several new positions at the Recycling Centre.
The recyclables will be collected from Gilmore and transferred for re-use elsewhere.
Tumbarumba will also have a buy-back substation, according to the Council plan.
The scheme will be funded by the drinks industry, which will be expected to fund the 10 cent refund and cover administration and handling fees, in an initiative championed by former NSW Premier Mike Baird.
It was introduced last year in spite of extensive opposition from the drinks industry, with big names such as Carlton and United, Lion and Coca-Cola working together in an attempt to lobby the government to drop the recycling proposal, leaked emails revealed last year.
In 2012, Coca-Cola Amatil, Schweppes and Lion Nathan took the Northern Territory government to the Federal Court in a bid to stop the introduction of a container deposit scheme, which was rejected.
However, the scheme will still go ahead, with centres expected to emerge in most population hubs across NSW.