Two Port Macquarie Rotary Clubs have been rewarded for a litter prevention initiative.
The Rotary clubs of Port Macquarie Sunrise and Port Macquarie West were highly commended in the Return and Earn Litter Prevention Award for Community in Category E (population more than 20,000).
The recognition was part of the prestigious Keep Australia Beautiful NSW 2019 Tidy Towns Awards. The Litter Prevention Award Category is supported by the Return and Earn NSW container deposit scheme.
The Rotary clubs were recognised for their Hundred Thousand Million Project, which aims to collect one million used drink containers over four years - or $100,000 for local charities.
Each bottle or can is eligible for a 10c refund through the Return and Earn container deposit scheme, which will go towards local charities.
In the first year of the project, 291,000 containers were collected - 41,000 above the annual target.
The two clubs organised can and bottle collections at the two state touch football competitions in December and February.
By collecting the bottles and cans, not only is litter in the local community reduced, but waste is diverted from landfill.
The initiative is reducing landfill by around 25 per cent on average from Port Macquarie-Hastings businesses and achieving an 80 per cent reduction from the sporting events, says Rotary Club of Port Macquarie West spokesperson, Steve Towle.
"I think it is a feather in our cap (the award)," he said.
"We were one of three finalists in the state in our category and overall, one of just five finalists to win the major prize, only beaten out by Cessnock.
This initiative came about because our members were looking at ways to earn cash while helping the environment.Steve Towle
"This initiative came about because our members were looking at ways to earn cash while helping the environment.
"We saw the return and earn option as a good way to achieve our goal."
Rotarians Rick Eller and Trevor Gilson were mainly responsible for bringing the return and earn scheme to the forefront and the possible returns.
The clubs now partner with the several major city events - including the Beer and Cider Festival - to further reduce landfill.
"Both clubs have strong teams of volunteers that get out and help reduce waste," Mr Towle said.
"These funds are then used to promote community projects and international Rotary projects."
Meanwhile the Rotary clubs are partnering with fellow clubs in drought-affected areas to help farmers, agricultural workers and local communities in hard-pressed areas.
The Port Macquarie clubs are working with Manilla, Barraba and Walcha Rotary clubs through raising cash.
Mr Towle said the work is through Rotary Australia Work Community Service where vouchers are provided and used in local shops which helps maintain money circulating within a town.
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