TOMRA TO HELP CHARITIES RAISE $1 MILLION
FOR COVID-AFFECTED AUSTRALIANS THROUGH NEW RECYCLING INITIATIVE
TOMRA is launching its most ambitious drive ever to help Aussies who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. From today, the company is urging Australians to donate their empty drink bottles and cans to help individuals and communities affected by food insecurity, financial hardship and mental health issues.
The TOMRA 'Bottles can change lives' recycling appeal - supported by the Return and Earn scheme in NSW and Containers for Change in QLD - aims to raise a massive $1 million for three of Australia's most respected charities: OzHarvest, The Salvation Army, and Beyond Blue, by the end of February 2021. Every eligible drink container donated through a TOMRA Reverse Vending Machine will raise 10 cents to help Aussies doing it tough during COVID-19.
"The pandemic has already had an unprecedented negative impact on the lives of millions of Australians both financially and emotionally. With these hardships only set to worsen, we would like to encourage everyone in NSW, QLD and NT - whether you have used the scheme before or not - to collect your used bottles and cans and donate to this important cause. If we could just get one in 20 drink containers donated we would exceed fundraising expectations" says Ryan Buzzell, President of TOMRA Collection Solutions Australia.
The NSW Return and Earn scheme has for example already generated over $10.4 million in revenue and donations for charities and community groups since it started in December 2017 – including over $500,000 in fundraising for Rural Aid to help rural families devastated by drought and bushfires in the "Bottles for the Bush" appeal last summer.
From today, recyclers across NSW, QLD and NT have the option of donating their eligible bottles or cans at any TOMRA reverse vending machines to either Beyond Blue, OzHarvest or The Salvation Army.
According to Buzzell, each participating charity has witnessed the demand for charitable services - in some cases up to 60% greater than normal. At the same time, they have seen a significant decline in fundraising activity that is essential to the ongoing funding of their work.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the mental health and wellbeing of many Australians, some for the first time," said Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman. "Every 10 cents' refunds that is generously donated will go to the Beyond Blue Support Service, which is staffed by mental health professionals who are ready to provide counselling, advice and referrals 24/7 to everyone in Australia," Ms Harman said.
"The Salvation Army are thrilled to be part of this great initiative. We have seen a large percentage increase in new people coming to The Salvation Army for support in these very challenging days. To partner with TOMRA and raise funds through recycling will not only benefit the environment but will also contribute to assisting Australian communities doing it tough", said Major Bruce Harmer, Salvation Army National Public Relations Secretary.
OzHarvest Founder and CEO, Ronni Kahn AO says "the impact of COVID-19 has seen food relief hit an all-time high, with nearly six million Aussies now relying on food relief. At OzHarvest, we know a nourishing meal is more than just food. It means that families who are struggling will be able to take stronger steps to rebuild their lives. Every 5 bottles or cans donated allows us to provide a meal to someone in need, so we are thrilled that TOMRA have chosen to support us with the 'Bottles can change lives' recycling appeal."
The "Bottles can change lives" appeal kicks off today and will run until 21st February 2021. To see how your contributions are having an impact and find your nearest TOMRA recycling machine, go to bottlescanchangelives.org.au or show your support on social media using the hashtag #bottlescanchangelives.