NSW residents have rallied behind drought-stricken farmers by donating more than $70000 through Return and Earn refunds to drought relief charity Buy a Bale.
The milestone comes as much of the state continues to struggle with the devastation of the drought that prompted Return and Earn to announce Buy a Bale as its major donation partner in August, allowing 10¢ container refunds to be donated to the charity.
Since the announcement, NSW recyclers have banded together in an inspiring display of support by donating some $70000 to Buy a Bale through reverse vending machines.
Buy a Bale chief executive officer Charles Adler said when their partnership with Return and Earn first took flight they set a donation target of $50000.
‘‘To raise more than $70000 through the simple but important act of recycling containers is brilliant — it’s been a massive success.
‘‘It’s during times of hardship that the true spirit of individuals and communities shines brightest, nowhere more so than in Australia, and the support shown across NSW has been a testament to this.’’
The 700000 container refunds donated to Buy a Bale is equivalent to more than six semi-trailer loads of hay, providing much-needed feed for livestock deprived of sustenance by the severe drought conditions plaguing NSW.
Macarthur-based farmer Brett Hayter said he appreciated the support.
‘‘It got to the stage where myself and the hundreds of farmers in the same situation didn’t know how we were going to source feed — the drought was that widespread.
‘‘I would look at my hay shed, and it’s been pretty empty at times — but there would always be one bale left because I’ve tried to hang onto it. I kept thinking, maybe there will be another truckload not far away, and it always turned up just when we needed it most,’’ Mr Hayter said.
‘‘Without this fodder, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my stock. It makes you realise what a great community we have.’’
Every year, more than 160million drink containers end up as litter in NSW, harming the environment and costing the community a lot to clean up.
Return and Earn aims to reduce the amount of litter volume across NSW by 40 per cent by 2020.