TRASH FOR CASH: Michael Christensen said he waited until mid-morning to make sure it the lines had settled down and he didn't have to stand around to long at the newly opened Ballina Return and Earn Centre.
TRASH FOR CASH: Michael Christensen said he waited until mid-morning to make sure it the lines had settled down and he didn't have to stand around to long at the newly opened Ballina Return and Earn Centre.

Fancy new recycling centre comes to town

EAGER residents were waiting from the crack of dawn for the new 'Australian first' Return and Earn Centre to open in Ballina yesterday.

Running in conjunction with recycling company Tomra, the new Return and Earn Centre provides the community with a convenient recycling solution and a way to turn their trash to cash, quickly as it can process 100 containers a minute.

The airconditioned centre is an expansion of the previous return point at Ballina Fair Shopping Centre and is fitted with six indoor reverse vending machines, to provide additional capacity for returned bottles and cans.

Michael Christensen of Ballina said he waited until mid-morning to make sure the lines had settled down and he didn't have to stand around too long.

"I feel better the recycling centre has reopened now," Mr Christensen said.

"I was having to go to Lismore to cash in some bottles and plastic, so I'm saving money on fuel now," he said.

"It was annoying having to go into Lismore… now I can do less amounts more regularly."

Mr Christensen said the newly expanded centre would give people more incentive to "clean up and keep the place tidy".

"Some people haven't been recycling properly since the last one closed down," he said.

"Hopefully they'll start up again now it's reopened."

Besides providing the community with a 10 cent refund for eligible containers, the centre is also offering generous recyclers the chance to raise money for local charities, not for profit organisations and community groups by opting to forgo their pocketed cash to donate.

Until February 23, 2020, locals can select Bottles for the Bush, on reverse vending machines as their charity of choice with 10 cents from each container going towards helping rural families doing it tough during the drought and bushfire season.

This option is part of a nationwide recycling appeal that aims to raise $250,000 towards the delivery of hay, water, live stock feed and food supplies to impacted communities. so far more than $18,000 has been raised.

Tomra project director Garth Graves said the centre had been steadily busy since the doors opened at 7am.

"It's great to have this collection point open in Ballina after a little over two months since our unit at Ballina Shopping Fair closed," he said.

"The feedback has been really positive.

"We decided to open here at this site instead of the tip which was an option, because it has greater capacity and this one is closer to town."

He said the reverse vending centre was the first of its kind in Australia.

"This facility could process approximately 10 million containers per year."

He said the centre could potentially see Ballina become the recycling hub of the Northern Rivers.

Located at 42 De Havilland Crescent, in the Ballina Industrial Estate, the centre's

operating hours are Monday to Friday, 7am to 7pm; Sundays and public holidays 9am to 6pm.



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