Tenambit Takeaway pull plug on Return and Earn; cite “issues” with recycling program

Tenambit Takeaway has pulled the plug on their involvement in the Return and Earn container collection scheme, citing multiple issues with the state government’s recycling program. 

Shop owners Jess and Darren McConville announced on Wednesday that they would no longer be collecting cans and bottles due to the difficulty of running a business at the same. 

“On a normal day we were getting 2500 cans,” Jessica said. 

“It was just too hard trying to run a business at the same time.” 

Mrs McConville said there had been multiple instances of the organisation contracted to pick up the waste failing to do so, resulting in the takeaway having to stockpile thousands of bottles and cans. 

“Darren would be putting the bottles out for collection on the weekend and they’d still be there a few days later,” she said. 

In a post on their business Facebook page, Darren wrote: “Whilst we have tried to persevere with some of the issues with this program, the current set up that the organisers have with ‘manual collection points’ in regional areas (such as ourselves) is not yet adequate enough for us be able to run our business and the scheme hand in hand”. 

Both said they wouldn’t rule out becoming involved in the program again if some of the issues were ironed out. 

“It’s a good scheme, they just need to be a bit more organised with it,” Jess said. 

“We need more collection points because there’s not a lot of sites around Maitland, which is probably the reason we were so busy."

Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison said the takeaway’s situation was symptomatic of a “bungled” rollout of the scheme and urged the state government to install a reverse vending machine for Maitland.

"The Berejiklian Government failed to consult with small businesses and consumers about the Return and Earn scheme. As a result, its rollout has been bungled from day one,” she said. 

"The people of Maitland deserve better than this. (Environment minister Gabrielle) Upton must immediately intervene to introduce reverse vending machines in our area."

Exchange for Change, the organisation contracted by the government to handle bottle and can collection, has been contacted for comment. The next closest collection points to Maitland are the Tudor Hotel at Woodberry and a reverse vending machine at Kurri Golf Club.