More than 57 million plastic and glass containers have been returned by residents in New England through the Earn and Return scheme since 2017.
The region is being congratulated for the enthusiastic uptake of the container deposit scheme that has collected 4 billion drink containers statewide.
Tamworth's two reverse recycling machines have collected 35 million containers and 18.3 million have been collected at the two locations in Armidale.
The materials collected through Earn and Return are recycled both in Australia and overseas, however upcoming bans on exporting recyclable materials could pose significant issues for the collected materials.
Only half of the plastic collected through Earn and Return is recycled in Australia with the rest being exported to multiple countries around the world such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
In fact between July of 2019 and February of 2020 Australia exported plastic to 40 different countries across 6 continents thus sprawling our waste practically all over the world.
The interactive map above shows Australia's plastic waste exports for the last 3 years, and whilst there has been a slight decrease in the total amount being exported the number of countries receiving our plastic waste has almost doubled from 22 in 2017 to 40 so far this year.
In light of the upcoming export bans, three large companies have put their expertise together to create what will be the countries biggest PET plastic recycling plant.
The $45 million dollar deal between drinks company Asahi, packaging company Pact Group and Cleanaway Waste Management will build a new facility located in a new commercial precinct north of Albury/Wodonga in NSW.
The new recycling plant will be able to recycle around 1 billion 600ml PET plastic bottles each year to help Australia create a circular economy and reduce reliance on exporting plastic waste.