The new return vending machine had one of the glass front panels smashed over the weekend.
The new return vending machine had one of the glass front panels smashed over the weekend. Marc Stapelberg

Recycling machine vandalised three days after it was set up

EITHER someone really wanted their 10 cents from an unapproved container or just felt the urge to smash something, but the region's only reverse vending machine was vandalised less than a week after the installation.

The machine was installed a week after the NSW Government's Container Deposit Scheme state-wide launch on December 1, with consumers ready to cash-in on their 10 cent refunds for drink containers, since prices rose early November.

Three days later glass on the machine was smashed.

Dylan Butcher commented on a Lismore Information Exchange post: "This is why Lismore can't have nice things... only takes one person to ruin it for everyone."

Other comments included: "30 years too late", and "how annoying, we were there yesterday and the kids loved it, hopefully it stays", while another said "nothing will last in Lismore.... vandals everywhere to break things".

Since the announcement of the scheme - which aims to reduce litter by 40% by 2020 - communities have been divided on its potential effectiveness.

Russell O'keefe is one of these community members - he said on the post: "Luckily these machines are not nice things. They are a waste of our money. We had perfectly fine yellow lid bins."

At the moment, the Lismore machine is the only option for Northern Rivers' consumers to get a refund from their containers, but more are expected to roll out.

They may come in the form of over-the-counter collection points or automated depots.

Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe MLC said the roll out of the "botched" scheme had been "complete shambles".

"There were meant to be 800 reverse vending machines in place but there are still only 52 listed, so the Government has turned to newsagents, car washes and kebab shops as its fallback - but clearly it isn't working," Ms Sharpe said.

According to a survey conducted by NSW Labor, almost one in five participants in scheme have withdrawn or are in the process of doing so.

Labor's survey covered 62 per cent of Return & Earn's 225 over-the-counter collection points - mostly corner shops, small businesses and cafes - listed around NSW.

The survey found 20 businesses that are operating and are experiencing problems reported issues including an inability to cope with the influx of people wanting to drop off containers, store the containers or keep them clean and interruption to their business.

Containers are collected and processed through a sorting centre in western Sydney, then sold into both domestic and export markets for recycling.



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