Return and Earn kiosk at Kooringal becomes a dumping ground over weekend, users slowly getting involved

WHAT A MESS: The Kooringal facility became a dumping ground on Sunday night.
WHAT A MESS: The Kooringal facility became a dumping ground on Sunday night.

The state government’s container deposit scheme has continued to draw criticism after the Kooringal Mall reverse vending machine turned into a dumping ground on Sunday night but some residents are beginning to turn around and voice their support.

The controversial Return and Earn system began on Friday morning last week, with Wagga shoppers finally able to get a refund for cans and bottles that have seen price hikes of more than 10 cents at shopping centres due to retail mark-ups.

The scheme aims to reduce litter across the state by 40 per cent by 2040 however dozens of bottles, cans and boxes were littered around the kiosk over the weekend.

The mess left neighbouring businesses and managers unimpressed.

“Obviously it's disappointing that members of the public have decided to do this,” said Knight Frank agent Jill Toohey.

“It’s not anyone’s fault in particular but there’s always a risk that something like that would happen.”

Witnesses said the rubbish was left beside the Return and Earn kiosk on Friday evening before 8.30pm.

Reverse vending machine providers, Cleanaway TOMRA, were contacted and the mess has since been cleaned up.

CASH IT IN: Monday afternoon saw a number of users bring large hessian sacks full of cans to the Kooringal facility to cash their refunds in bulk.

CASH IT IN: Monday afternoon saw a number of users bring large hessian sacks full of cans to the Kooringal facility to cash their refunds in bulk.

Ms Toohey said Cleanaway TOMRA were responsible for maintenance and management of the kiosk but said she was pleased to see the kiosk gathering some traction.

“We’ve simply provided Cleanaway with the space but there’s a person down there assisting people with the machine and it appears as though more people are using the facility,” she said.

Rubbish aside, the venture is beginning to garner heightened community attention and more residents are using the facility. 

Monday afternoon saw a number of users bring large hessian sacks full of cans to the Kooringal facility to cash their refunds in bulk while others have openly voiced their support for the venture despite increased product prices.

Wagga resident Harry Smith was delighted with the system, saying he used the Gurwood Street facility to cash in 15 cans for the princely sum of $1.50 for Christmas fundraising.

“I think it’s a very positive thing for the town,” he said.

“It could be a wonderful way for kids to make some pocket money over Christmas.”

The Kooringal Mall reverse vending machine and Gurwood Street Woolworths reverse vending machine are currently operational, however, an over-the-counter kiosk at the Alfredtown service station is yet to be confirmed.