Fifty million drink containers have been recycled at Dubbo Return and Earn, and Wellington resident David Eslick reckons he's been responsible for about 200,000 of them, worth $20,000 - all of which he's given to charity.
The keen Wellington Lions Club member began using the automated Return and Earn depot at 25 Douglas Mawson Road because it meant he could drop in a bunch of bottles and cans at once, rather than feed them in one by one.
Mr Eslick, 74, previously recycled his drink containers at Wellington Return and Earn machine, where he estimates he dropped 470,000 items, worth $47,000.
Over the past five years, Mr Eslick and Lions Club friends have rounded up over 65,000 containers, making around $650,000, all of which has gone back into the Wellington Lions for their charitable causes.
"We've supplied stuff to the ambulance, we've sent kids down to Licola Wilderness Village in Victoria, schools get money off us, and we've donated to WINS Community Centre," Mr Eslick told the Daily Liberal.
He drives to Dubbo up to twice a week with a trailer load of bottles and cans destined for the recycling centre.
Local businesses and residents save their containers for him and he drives around and picks them up, then he's off to Dubbo to cash them in.
"I started doing it in 2018. I had a heart attack in December 2017 and I wasn't able to drive so I started wandering around the streets [collecting cans and bottles]," Mr Eslick said.
"I walked 14 kilograms off when I had my heart attack, doing bottles and cans, and it's just grown and grown and grown. I'm now heading towards $70,000, in just over five years."
Now on the mend and with his licence back, Mr Eslick collects solo these days. He supplies households with bins and they fill them with their containers. He can fit up to $500 worth - or around 5000 cans - in his trailer.
He says he's not in it for "the glory".
"I do it because I want to do it. I pay for all my own fuel, and I pay for all the bags I use - nothing gets charged to the Lions club at all," he said.
IN OTHER NEWS
The automated depot is managed by St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, and Mitch Saddler, Acting Executive Director, Commercial Enterprise, Fundraising and Communications, congratulated Dubbo on hitting the 50 million containers milestone.
"Vinnies is extremely proud of our Return and Earn services to the Dubbo community," Mr Saddler told the Daily Liberal.
"Fifty million containers recycled through the Vinnies Automated Depot means $500,000 back into the pockets of locals, with money also raised for Vinnies to continue our vital work for the community. I'd like to congratulate Dubbo locals on their commitment to recycling and sustainability."
James Dorney, CEO of TOMRA Cleanaway, network operator of the scheme, told the Daily Liberal he was "thrilled by the support communities like Dubbo have given Return and Earn".
"As well as the direct benefit container refunds have for locals, it means that together we are making NSW a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly state," Mr Dorney said.