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Cash refunds for ditching plastic bottles this weekend

Wellingtonians can make some pocket money this weekend if they ditch their plastic bottles in exchange for cash “refunds” at an event run by zero waste campaigners on Saturday.

The event, organised by campaign group The Kiwi Bottle Drive and sponsored by the Wellington City Council, aims to advocate for a bottle refund scheme by giving out free 10c-20c per item for plastic bottles, cans and other beverage containers.

“We’re aiming to collect and recycle more than 20,000 beverage containers this weekend,” says campaign coordinator Holly Dove.

“It’s simple – people bring us in bottles and cans they’ve collected over the week – hopefully plenty of litter from beaches and community spaces – and we give them out cash in exchange.”

Run out of Aro Valley community centre from 11am-2pm this Saturday, The Great Kiwi Bottle Drive event will see thousands of dollars given away in 10c and 20c coins and will be a great fundraising opportunity for community groups.

“We’re wanting to demonstrate how awesome it would be if New Zealand had a bottle refund scheme, whereby you get cash refunds on beverage containers,” she says.

“It’s a system countries like Australia and Canada have introduced to increase recycling rates and solve litter – and it’s working.”

“There’s been a huge swell of public support in the past few months, and we’re backed by councils and many different organisations, so it’s exciting to finally get a chance to educate kiwis on how a bottle refund system would work – as well as showing kids that recycling can be fun.”

Dove delivered a petition calling for the introduction of a bottle refund scheme to Parliament late last year with a team of support, including Wellington’s Mayor Justin Lester.

Mayor Justin Lester said the Wellington council was in full-support of bottle deposits, which were a “back to the future” solution for waste minimisation.

“Bottle deposits are the next logical step for New Zealand to take in terms of waste minimisation and moving toward a zero waste economy,” he said.

If a scheme were to go ahead, it would see a mandatory 10c-20c refund given on all beverage containers in New Zealand, says Dove.

“It’s a really simple and super effective waste minimisation tool which New Zealand could implement right now using existing legislation.

“While doubling our recycling rate and cleaning up our streets, a bottle refund scheme means great fundraising opportunities for community groups and schools – it’s a win-win for people and planet,” she says. “We expect a large turn-out this weekend and everyone is welcome, so don’t be shy.”

-News from Kiwi Bottle Drive

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