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Vending machines let you exchange rubbish for rewards

New "reverse" vending machines installed in Sydney let you deposit recyclable waste in return for rewards.

City of Sydney

According to the City of Sydney, around 15,000 bottles and cans across Australia are thrown into landfill waste or littered every hour, instead of being recycled -- about 58 percent of all recyclable material annually. To help minimise this waste, it is trialling Envirobank "reverse vending machines" on Dixon Street in Haymarket and Alfred Street in Circular Quay.

The vending machines, which can hold around 2,000 bottles before needing to be emptied, offer several different rewards to people who deposit their aluminium, PET and glass bottles: two-for-one food truck vouchers, a chance to win two tickets to the 2014 New Year's Eve Festivities at Dawes Point, or entry in a jackpot to win bus tickets. Alternatively, you can choose to donate 10 cents per container to Clean-Up Australia.

"These are vending machines with a twist that will encourage Sydneysiders to be even better at recycling plastic bottles and aluminium cans," said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. "The machines offer a small reward for people who make the effort to recycle. We're trialling these reverse vending machines and I hope this new idea will capture the attention of our residents and visitors."

Sydney got its first Envirobank machine -- no longer in operation -- at the CBD Metcentre in 2009, and Envirobanks are currently installed in various 7-Eleven outlets across Victoria, the Northern Territory and New South Wales. The new Sydney machines, the Lord Mayor hopes, will demonstrate the feasibility of a national container deposit scheme to increase recycling rates.

"Container deposit schemes significantly increase recycling, reduce waste and protect wildlife and the environment from plastic pollution," the Lord Mayor said. "We're taking what action we can to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, but will continue to lobby state and federal governments for reform on this issue."