This Couple Is Funding Their Entire Wedding Via Recycled Cans And Bottles
Darren Auth-Jones and Ellen Toohill have their sights set on an intimate, country wedding but their payment approach is less conventional.
For over a year, the Sydney couple has been collecting bags of plastic bottles, beer bottles and soft drinks cans from their home, neighbours and work sites to fund their "recycling wedding".
"We're looking at a nice country themed-wedding in the Hunter Valley, but with paying all the bills, saving is impossible," Auth-Jones told 10 daily.
"Everything we're doing, we're just thinking, 'recycle, recycle, recycle'!"
The couple met about five years ago at a country B&S ball -- a modern old town dance -- on Sydney's outskirts. Two years ago, Auth-Jones proposed at a lookout near Warragamba Dam.
"We went for a hike, and I ended up pulling out a ring!" he said. "Here we are, a couple of years on."
Auth-Jones, a truck driver, has always been "passionate" about recycling but said the couple knuckled down last February when they started cashing in their cans and bottles at container deposits.
Container deposit schemes are currently operating in NSW, the NT, SA and Queensland, where consumers can return bottles, cans and containers to claim a reward or refund.
At 10 cents a piece, the couple quickly realised they could reap the benefits with a little bit of effort.
"Ten milk crates is almost 50 bucks, so we started filling them up everywhere we go," Auth-Jones said.
"Then we decided we wanted to get married with it."
And we mean everywhere. Toohill will come home from work at a horse racing stable with a ute load, while Auth-Jones will do stop by neighbours' homes. They'll pick up bottles on the train after a night out, and even come home from holidays heavy-handed.
Every cent earned is funneled into a separate bank account -- except for the last five or ten bottles which they donate.
Since February last year, Auth-Jones estimates they've collected 70,000 containers, equating to roughly $7,000. They've also pooled thousands of ring pulls from cans that he hopes will help build wheelchairs for those in need.
While the average Aussie wedding rings in at about $32,000 -- according to Easy Weddings' 2019 annual industry report -- Auth-Jones and Toohill are well on their way to reaching their budget: between $7,000 and $10,000.
"We're just having a family, a few friends and people who have contributed since we started doing this, so nothing overboard," he said.
The couple plan to tie the knot this time next year -- but they won't stop recycling in married life.
"I want to inspire people to start taking their rubbish with them -- and that you can achieve something when you put that money away."
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