To coincide with the start of National Recycling Week, TOMRA is launching a nationwide appeal for Aussies to donate their empty drink bottles and cans to help rural families struggling with drought and bushfires.
The TOMRA Bottles for the Bush recycling appeal aims to raise $250,000 for Rural Aid this summer - a charity dedicated to supporting rural communities in need. Every eligible drink bottle or can donated through a Return and Earn Reverse Vending Machine in NSW, will raise 10 cents towards drought and bushfire relief. TOMRA's goal is to assist in raising $250,000 by late-February with funds raised going towards the delivery of hay, water, live stock feed and food supplies - giving relief to families doing it tough over the Christmas and New Year period.
"With 99 per cent of NSW officially in drought and 53 per cent of the State already in high fire danger, we felt compelled to do our bit for those living in areas most impacted. If we can encourage people to donate some of their drink containers in our cities, and thereby provide much needed funds to our farmers and rural communities, that's going to make a positive difference," commented Ryan Buzzell, TOMRA President Australia.
From today, recyclers in NSW, QLD and NT will have the option to donate their container refund via all TOMRA recycling machines by simply selecting Bottles for the Bush, with Rural Aid the recipient of 10 cents per eligible bottle or can. TOMRA is urging people to spare a thought for struggling rural communities by selecting the donation option over claiming the refund on their containers themselves.
"Based on the popularity of Return and Earn in NSW, which currently receives millions of returned containers every day, we are optimistic Australians can help us reach our goal of 2.5 million containers (the equivalent to a quarter of a million dollars) over the summer. In fact, we see around four million containers returned daily in NSW and if every one of these were donated towards Bottles for the Bush, we could raise $40,000 a day!," added Mr Buzzell.
Rural Aid Spokesperson, Craig Marsh said he was grateful to TOMRA for supporting Rural Aid's work assisting our farmers and rural communities who are struggling, on many levels, through this record-breaking drought.
"Many of us living in a thriving city environment can find it difficult to comprehend the extent of the drought," Mr Marsh said.
"The realities of Australia's harsh conditions and natural disasters are devastating for our farmers on many levels. It's not only the farmers that are affected – businesses, both large and small, that support the farmers and the rural communities also feel the economic effects."
Environment Minister Matt Kean said that the success of the NSW Government's Return and Earn program in tackling litter means we can provide more support to farmers during the drought.
"Our farmers are doing it tough at the moment and what better way to help than by reduing litter in NSW at the same time!" Mr Kean said.
"Return and Earn is incredibly popular with more than 50 per cent of adults in NSW choosing to help the environment while earning some money along the way.
"This scheme provides an opportunity for recyclers to donate their 10 cent refunds to help support our farmers and rural families doing it tough at the moment."
The campaign kicks off today and will run until 23 February 2020. Updates on funds raised and tangible outcomes will be posted to TOMRA's Facebook page and on bottlesforthebush.org.au.
To find your nearest return point, go to www.bottlesforthebush.org.au or pledge your support on social media using #bottlesforthebush.