Couple are funding their entire wedding using 10 cent refunds from recycled cans
Weddings tend to be pricey affairs, but one couple found a way to budget effectively, and give back in the process.
Leonie Starr and her fiancé Matthew Porter, who hail from Queensland's Sunshine Coast, pledged to recycle 810,000 bottles and cans to pay for their dream wedding, and have already raised $6,000 in five months.
They decided to recycle for cash after a 10 cent container deposit scheme came into issue on the 1st November last year. They are averaging 10,000 units a month - which is less than what is needed for their 810,000 target - but they're hoping what they save will help raise funds for their wedding in Vanuatu in 2020.
"Since November I have collected 51,455 bottles which works out to be $5,145.50,'' Leonie told FEMAIL. She also told the publication that they received a $1,000 from their local TOMRA Recycling Centre, which will go towards flowers and other decorations.
It's not the easiest of tasks, however. ''For me to reach my huge goal of 810,000 bottles I would need to be taking home 2,200 bottles a day,'' the 29-year-old continued. ''I'm averaging about 10,000 per month so far. Since hitting 50,000 bottles and having the wedding now paid for entirely out of 10c containers, my main goal is to get as close to 810,000 as I can.''
''I'm way off hitting that goal in a year, and it would have been a more realistic goal to aim for 100,000, but it's been so fun trying and it gets me out of the house, socialising and exercising.''
As of now, the couple have paid for bridesmaids dresses, but they haven't secured a deposit for anything else.
When Leonie and Matthew first began researching the cost to hire a private island in Vanuatu for 35 people to spend six nights on, they were appalled at the price. ''Including the actual wedding which is $5,000, it came to $81,000. My partner nearly fell off the couch,' Leonie said.
And they've discovered some unconventional ways of sourcing the cans. ''The best place to collect bottles is definitely the sides of highways and main roads,'' Leonie continued.
''Usually near ramps or exits there's heaps of rubbish and bottles. My friends and family collect their recycling for me too and there's a beautiful bunch of regular donators who message me through my recycling Facebook page. I have met the most fantastic people in my recycling journey so far. On days off, I might spend maybe three to four hours collecting and do one or two drop offs in one day.''
And while their nuptials are still a year away, Leonie and Matthew are beyond excited.
"I keep thinking about how exciting it's going to be boarding the plane with all of our guests on the same flight heading over to Vanuatu to celebrate our lives together."