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Envirobank wants to pay you to recycle. Here’s how you can cash in

Photography By Anna Shvets, Karolina Grabowska, @envirobank
Published 09.11.21

Would you recycle vigilantly if putting cans in a bag instead of the bin meant a free dinner or money to spend at your favourite store? I’m betting that’s a yes.

Good news: that’s the reality with Envirobank, a recycling company that pays for your bottles and cans. Established in 2008, the Australian-owned business is cleaning up the country by revolutionising recycling: offering on-the-spot cash or rewards through an easy-to-navigate app called Crunch.

Each time you recycle at an Envirobank activity point you earn Crunch credits. They can be cashed out electronically or redeemed for gift vouchers at a range of your favourite stores through the Crunch rewards system.

Envirobank has arrived at a good time. Recycling in Australia is fragmented, with legislative requirements varying from every state to territory. It’s confusing for people to know what can and can’t be recycled, and where – forcing many to seek out alternative ways to deal with waste.

Reward systems like Envirobank work. South Australia introduced the first container deposit scheme 44 years ago, and now more than 600 million eligible containers are returned for refunds and recycling each year – making it one of the most effective container deposit schemes in the world, with beverage containers accounting for less than three per cent of the litter items in SA. Now, Envirobank is helping to take this smart, proven initiative to other parts of the country.

How does Envirobank work?

Envirobank will pay you 10c (15 Crunch credits) for every can and bottle you collect. The more you gather, the bigger the payout – kind of like a commission. You can further expedite the collection process by setting up group schemes at schools or within your apartment building (or even by throwing a big party – good excuse, no?). Once you’ve rounded up your recyclables, it’s time to get rewarded. 

There are a few ways to do this: our favourite is ordering a contactless home pickup through the Crunch app for a small fee. The service is currently only available to Crunch members in the eastern suburbs of Sydney and Brisbane’s inner north, but it will be expanding to more areas soon. Simply put 250 or more 10c containers into cardboard boxes or durable bags and leave them in a safe place on collection day. You can also purchase Envirobank orange bags that are big enough to fit 50 containers, so 10 full bags equate to $50 or 7,500 Crunch credits.

Other ways to cash in include dropping your containers off at Drop’n’Go smart pods in convenient locations across Queensland and the Northern Territory, or finding pop-up location services operating at surf clubs across New South Wales. For smaller collections you can use the ultimate recycling technology: reverse vending machines (RVMs). They work the opposite way to a traditional vending machine: rather than depositing money and retrieving some kind of sugary treat, you deposit eligible containers and bank the refund via your Crunch app. 

Supplied by Envirobank
Tell me about getting paid

Via the Crunch app, you can cash out your Crunch credits electronically or redeem them for gift vouchers with places like Coles, Apple, The Iconic, JB Hi-Fi, eBay and more conscious businesses such as Go For Zero and FoodSt. 

You can even transfer your credits to Virgin Velocity Points to help save for that trip you’ve been dreaming about for the past 18 months. Of course, if you’re feeling a little more selfless, there’s the ability to donate to non-profits such as the Leukaemia Foundation, Surf Life Saving and WWF.

Track your impact

Cash rewards are great, but so is seeing how your efforts have resulted in tangible outcomes. Via the Crunch app you’re able to view your recycling activity and associated environmental savings impact. Deposited 1,400 containers? Nice work, you’ve saved over 140 tonnes of CO₂. A little positive affirmation never goes astray. 

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