THE State Government’s Return and Earn scheme has kicked off with a bang in western Sydney with more than 20,000 containers being returned to Blacktown’s automated depot every day.

Across NSW, more than 50 million containers have been returned, resulting in a total payout of $5 million to recyclers.

Luke Parker is the managing director of an automated depot that opened in Blacktown on January 15.

Mr Parker said the depot had already processed almost 400,000 containers.

“It’s taking off,” Mr Parker said. “People save them up at home and bring a bag or a box or trailer full. People drop off 50 or a couple of thousand in one hit.”

He puts it down to one thing: “At the end of the day, there’s money in it and when there’s money in it, people are motivated.

“We have little kids going around and picking up bottles off the street, pensioners are saving them up and businesses are setting up a collection point then donating the money earned to a good cause.

“There’s a hundred reasons as to why people do it but it’s because of the money.”

Mr Parker has about 60 cages being delivered to the depot next week. They will be sent to schools and sporting clubs.

“The schools use them for fundraising,” he said.

While Emerton’s reverse vending machine was the most popular in NSW, residents such as Wendy Ward said it was not emptied often enough.

“I went to Emerton yesterday but the machine was full and was not accepting,” she said.

“If it’s the busiest machine, maybe they need to empty it more regularly.

“It’s nice to see kids depositing their bag of cans and getting their vouchers.”

– Danielle Jarvis, Blacktown Advocate