Bob a bewdy bottler for environment

15,000 cans and bottles all in a month 's work for recycler Bob

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CHEERS TO YOU: Bob Jolley with his wife Marj and proud family members at the June 25 tribute hosted by Wentworth Shire.

CHEERS TO YOU: Bob Jolley with his wife Marj and proud family members at the June 25 tribute hosted by Wentworth Shire.

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Community volunteer Bob Jolley, 81, is 2020 NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year.

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It takes time, dedication and anything you can lay your hands on to gather up 294,000 cans and bottles.

But 81-year-old Robert Jolley, winner of the 2020 NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year Award, has all that and more.

Bob, or "Bottle-O Bob" as he's known by many in Wentworth Shire, in southern NSW, received the award on June 5 - World Environment Day.

It's an apt nickname. Bob is a familiar face as he heads out once a week in his old ute to collect the items, which come in many and varied receptacles - "plastic bags, old shopping bags, bins, drums - anything that will take people's old bottles", he said.

BOB ON THE JOB: Bob with just some of his weekly haul. In addition to his recent award, he receives $5000 to be donated to his chosen community project.

BOB ON THE JOB: Bob with just some of his weekly haul. In addition to his recent award, he receives $5000 to be donated to his chosen community project.

Thanks to Bob's efforts, 30,000 drink containers a month are being recycled rather than being turned into landfill.

But it's not just the environment that benefits.

To date, Bob has raised $25,000 for community projects including a new skateboard park, a long-stay centre for pre-schoolers and a hub for local youth.

Children mean a lot to Bob and his wife Marj, whose family includes 30 grandchildren and one great-great grandchild, with another on the way.

Many of their offspring still live within cooee of their home in Coomealla, with a number attending a recent celebration hosted by the shire in Bob's honour.

Bob has deep roots in the community he has lived in all his life. His grandfather settled in the district around the turn of last century.

He has no plans to stop contributing to the place he clearly loves.

He is already raising to try to establish a doctor and a community centre in Wentworth.

"We've had a couple (of doctors) but they've all gone," he said.

"We're just one of those lonely areas - Wentworth has about 7000 people but the shire covers about 7000 square kilometres.

'"A small community sticks together more than a big one, and we've held up pretty well. But we all need some help."

Bob agrees that collecting from people's houses is also a sociable thing to do - and a beaut opportunity for a chat. "It takes me a long time to get around," he said happily.

The award , sponsored by litter reduction program Return and Earn, is part of the annual NSW Local Citizen of the Year Award held on Australia Day.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said it celebrates community champions, everyday individuals and organisations working towards bettering the environment through litter reduction or implementing local environmental initiatives.

"This award is all about acknowledging and celebrating those who make a real difference in our local communities," he said.

The other finalists were:

  • Bingara Anglers Club (Gwydir Shire)
  • Bruce Whan (Armidale)
  • Chase Cross (Sutherland Shire)
  • Delungra Public School (Inverell Shire)
  • Dianne Davison (Port Macquarie-Hastings)
  • Friends of Oberon Library (Oberon)
  • Griffith Meals On Wheels (Griffith)
  • Gulargambone Lions Club (Coonamble Gulargambone)
  • Edwina Lowe - Jindabyne Boomerang Bags (Snowy Monaro)
  • Kylie Falconer (Glen Innes)
  • Linda Sparrow (Byron Bay)
  • Nigel Waters (Port Stephens)
  • Warren Chad (Lachlan Shire).

To learn more about them, click HERE.

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