Couple pay for wedding by collecting discarded plastic bottles

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
They were given £780 for every 10,000 bottles collected. [Photo: Getty]
They were given £780 for every 10,000 bottles collected. [Photo: Getty]

We all know how expensive weddings can be.

One couple decided to offset the costs by doing something good for the environment at the same time.

Leonie Starr and her fiancé Matthew Porter conjured up an ambitious plan to pay for their dream wedding by collecting plastic bottles and getting paid to do so.

The pair made $1,000 AUD (£780) for every 10,000 bottles they collected via the Queensland’s container refund scheme in their home country, Australia.

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They needed to raise £63,000 for their dream overseas wedding, which equated to 810,000 bottles.

Starr told Australian website Mama Mia that when she shared her grand plans with her family they all laughed.

It took her family a month to realise that she was serious and they were going to go ahead with the plan.

“If we're driving around and we see bottles on the side of the road, I'll pull over and Matthew will help me grab the bottles and put them in the bag,” said Starr.

Their everyday effort has paid off, though.

In one year, the couple have collected 89,064 bottles, equating to £7,000 of their wedding fund.

They decided to alter their initial budget in a bid to bring their wedding forward. They’ve found the perfect location on the Golden Coast costing almost £8,000 in total.

TOMRA recycling heard what the pair were doing and donated an extra £1,000 towards their dream day, helping them to raise enough money to go ahead with their plan.

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“The venue and the celebrant have been paid in full, we've put down a deposit for catering and we've still got heaps of money left over from the bottles, so I'm really excited,” said Starr. “We don't plan on spending any of our own money on the wedding at all. My main goal is for it to be completely paid for by bottles.”

They’ve got until November 2020, when they get married, to keep collecting bottles and saving money for their dream day.

There’s not currently an equivalent initiative of the same scale in the UK, but some companies are offering small incentives for customers who take part in recycling schemes.

For example, supermarket chain Iceland introduced a reverse vending machine scheme earlier this year.

As part of the scheme, customers are rewarded with a voucher worth 10p for every used bottle purchased in store.

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