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Age Matters has partnered with the NSW Government’s Return and Earn Scheme

Giving Back Innovation & Research Connectedness Community Lifestyle
03 October 2018

Age Matters is cleaning up the environment and helping older Australians.

Age Matters has recently become a charity partner for the NSW Government’s ‘Return and Earn’ scheme, an initiative launched in December 2017 to encourage communities to pitch in and be more proactive about cleaning up their green spaces. 

At the centre of the Return & Earn initiative are Reverse Vending Machines (RVM), where bottles, cans and cartons can be returned for a refund. The RVMs, manufactured and operated by material recovery firm Tomra, automatically detect what’s being deposited and give a refund for each eligible deposit.  

Refunds can be claimed in one of three ways – as a supermarket voucher, as a digital PayPal refund, or an automatic donation to a charity. Age Matters is now one of the designated local charities included in the scheme.

Refunds can be automatically donated to Age Matters at select RVMs in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and NSW South Coast. Donations go towards helping seniors who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and are a great way for people to donate to charity without taking money from their own back pocket.

Toby Dawson, Age Matters Manager, is encouraging people help fight homelessness in older Australians by choosing to donate to the Foundation.

“The reason Return and Earn is really important to Age Matters is that as a not-for-profit organisation we cannot do it alone,” he said. 

“You too can be a part of fighting homelessness for disadvantaged older Australians. Take your bottles and cans to your nearest return and earn site and choose IRT4HOMELESSNESS.”

Tomra’s Claire Mawdsley, Charity Partnership Manager, and Martin Walters, Marketing Director, encourage everyone to donate at least a portion of their return to charity.

“Over 680 million containers have been deposited just in NSW so far,” Martin said.  “If people donated just 1 in every 10 of their containers to charity, we would have raised over $64 million in NSW alone.”

The scheme is going from strength to strength, and Claire and Martin expect the RVMs and similar schemes to be rolled out nation-wide as part of the regular recycling process in the very near future.

As a result of the scheme, people are more educated about recycling and what litter is the most common, and kids are learning how to take care of the environment, be enterprising and be more charitable. 

In the 10 months since the scheme began the recycling rate has gone up from 33% to 67%, and litter has been reduced by one third. The Good Life spoke with Claire Mawdsley and Martin Walters last week.

Age Matters RVM sites:

  • Coles Warrawong
  • Warilla Bowls & Recreation Club
  • Bomaderry Bowling Club
  • Woolworths Nowra Fair
  • Woolworths Nowra
  • IGA St Georges Basin
  • Woolworths Vincentia
  • Woolworths Moruya
  • Woolworths Ulladulla
  • Woolworths Narooma

To learn more about the NSW Government’s Return and Earn Scheme visit
or to learn more about Tomra visit

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