Lithgow's Return and Earn is popular, but it appears the site has become a victim of its own heavy traffic.
Lithgow's Return and Earn Reverse Vending Machine (RVM), located at Coles, Lithgow Valley Plaza has been open for nearly two years, since February 2018, and in that time has racked up some impressive recycling figures.
A spokesperson from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) confirmed to the Lithgow Mercury that the town has returned more than 9,968,109 containers at the RVM.
This success has not come without controversy however. Recent posts to social media have Lithgow residents questioning who is responsible for maintaining the area surrounding the RVM after photos showing the bins at the site overflowing with rubbish.
Skip bins with 'Cleanaway' branding - the company tasked with maintaining the RVM site - are shown overflowing with mostly cardboard waste.
The Lithgow Mercury reached out to the DPIE for clarification on the issue.
"Waste bins are available at most RVM locations, and each RVM site is cleaned a minimum of twice a day. More cleans are scheduled for locations with high volumes," a DPIE spokesperson said.
Waste bins are available at most RVM locations, and each RVM site is cleaned a minimum of twice a day. More cleans are scheduled for locations with high volumes.DPIE spokesperson
"More drinks are purchased over the holiday period and summer months and this is reflected in the amount of containers returned through the scheme.
"Return and Earn encourages everyone to recycle responsibly and customers should take all their rubbish with them including cardboard boxes and ineligible containers, to put in the bin or recycle via their home kerbside recycling."
The spokesperson reminded residents that littering is an offence and anyone found littering in NSW, including at RVM locations, can be fined $250.
Currently there is an opportunity for return and earners to support rural communities by selecting 'Bottles for the Bush' on selected RVMs. Users can select the Bottles for the Bush option and their 10 cent refund will go towards drought and bushfire relief.
More information about the scheme, including eligible containers and return point locations is available at www.returnandearn.org.au