Return and earn: A lucrative way to make trash pay

By Mike Rengifo

If you want to earn extra pocket money and aid the environment, you have the option of cashing eligible containers in for 10 cents each at return and earn machines all across NSW.

Since its commencement back in 2017, the program has generated crucial success reducing the volume of litter in NSW and altering people’s thoughts about recycling.

Nearly $1 billion has been refunded to NSW residents.

Ruben Rosales started collecting and returning after losing his job due to the pandemic and watching other people going through his bins.

He collects containers from the local school and restaurant he works for, banking $1000 and using it to purchase a flight from Sydney to Lima for his mum.

Jennifer Ramirez is another Australian who adopted this lucrative action by rummaging through bins around her neighbourhood.

“I go every Wednesday night after work around my area before the truck comes every Thursday morning,” said Ramirez. “Sometimes I get $100 roughly for doing this and use it to buy groceries.”

However, certain neighbours don’t like having their bins being disturbed, so Jennifer prefers to bypass those people’s bins.

Ruben Rosales (left) and Jennifer Ramirez are making much-needed money through return and earn. Photos: Mike Rengifo

One night a lady called the police although she didn’t take any legal action.

Another situation Ramirez has dealt with is getting filmed quite often by pedestrians, although she never found out what they ended up doing with the footage.

Recycling is more common now and more Aussies are involved. There are a considerable number of return points not only in NSW but across Australia.

Featured image: Return and Earn machine at Kooringal Mall. Photo: Mike Rengifo

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