An Indigenous-owned recycling company has partnered with Coles to promote sustainability in the Northern Territory.

Founded and managed by Indigenous entrepreneur Narelle Anderson, Envirobank encourages people to contribute to their State or Territory’s container deposit schemes.

Community members collect items, take it to an Envirobank collection centre and reap the rewards, whether it be cash or other rewards through Envirobank’s Crunch app.

Now partnering with Coles, Envirobank’s new Drop ‘n’ Go pod collection point at the Coles North Lakes store will allow the local community to become more involved in the NT’s Cash for Containers scheme to prevent unnecessary landfill across the Top End.

The North Lakes Drop ‘n’ Go pod follows the trial of Envirobank’s Reverse Vending Machine at Coles Casuarina last year which saw community members recycle over 7,500 containers in the past month alone.

Locals can now fill their orange Envirobank collection bags with recyclables and drop it at the Coles Drop ‘n’ Go in return for supermarket vouchers or cash through the Crunch app.

“Our partnership with Coles in the NT allows us to make the Territory’s Cash for Containers scheme more convenient and accessible for consumers to recycle, allowing them to exchange their bottles and cans for milk and bread as well as cash,” said Anderson.

“It is also a great demonstration of Coles’ commitment to working with Aboriginal businesses in their supply chain, and we are proud to be working with Coles on this project.”

Coles’ Chief Sustainability, Property and Export Officer and leader of the Coles Indigenous program, Thinus Keeve, said the Envirobank-Coles partnership will build on Coles’ commitment to sustainable practice and Indigenous engagement.

“As Australia’s largest private sector employer of Indigenous Australians, we know it’s important to ensure our stores and partnerships reflect the communities we serve by providing more opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, organisations, communities and customers to engage with our business,” he said.

Not only is Coles supporting an Indigenous-owned business, funds raised through the purchase of Envirobank bags will go to Purple House, a local Indigenous health service that provides culturally safe dialysis care to 18 remote Indigenous communities across the Territory.

“Our partnership with Envirobank across the Northern Territory will not only contribute to more opportunities for Indigenous-owned companies throughout our supply chain and support iconic Indigenous charity Purple House, but will also reinforce Coles’ commitment to investing in important environmental projects and partnerships to reduce our environmental impact,” Keeve said.

Purple House CEO Sarah Brown AM said the organisation is “delighted” to continue its strong partnership with Coles and build a relationship with Envirobank as “another Indigenous organisation who shares our commitment to community and Country”.

“The funds raised through this partnership will assist in the 2021 launch of a second Purple Truck, providing mobile dialysis in remote communities without a permanent unit, and supporting patients who are desperate to visit family and get home for important cultural business,” Brown said.

Envirobank now joins the more than 100 Indigenous businesses in Coles’ supply chain.

By Hannah Cross