Return and Earn scheme reaches two billion containers

Recycling bottles and cans is a great way to make some cash and in a major milestone for NSW litter reduction, two billion drink containers have been collected within just 19 months of the establishment of the Return and Earn scheme.

The scheme has helped NSW achieve a 57 per cent reduction in eligible drink container litter volume since Return and Earn started in 2017.

Environment Protection Authority Acting CEO Mark Gifford said the Return and Earn scheme has been incredibly successful by any measure. ‘Approximately half of all adults in NSW have used the scheme and it has fundamentally changed people’s thinking and behaviour towards litter.

‘The design of the scheme has made it work – the incentive through the 10 cent refund, the easy to use nature of the reverse vending machines and the convenience – with more than 640 return points spread across New South Wales.’

The recent summer period was the busiest across the network with the daily record set on 28 January 2019 at 6.8 million containers returned in one day.

Since Return and Earn began more than 300 schools, charities, community and sporting groups have featured as local donation partners on Reverse Vending Machines across NSW. Any school, charity, community or sporting group interested in fundraising as a local donation partner can visit the Return and Earn website to find out how to get involved.

For more information about Return and Earn, visit



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4 responses to “Return and Earn scheme reaches two billion containers”

  1. Joe says:

    Great scheme, but why aren’t WINE bottles included?

    • Joachim says:

      The current system could have been a whole lot better, too many exclusions as your rightly allude to. And why the hassle of having to hunt out a return depot. All point of sale drinks retailers should also act as the return station to collect the deposit – just like it was when is a young boy and it worked a treat. The retailers these days are overjoyed to make the sales but don’t want to accept dealing with with ‘container/s’ after they leave the shop.

  2. Ross Allan says:

    It’s a start but really, a 57% return rate is pretty ordinary. Come on peoples, extract the digit and get the percentage up near 100%. Don’t be lazy and don’t litter. Show us that you do care.

  3. Mick Marrs says:

    It’s a rip off. $2.40 return for 24 empty stubbies but you have to pay an extra fifteen dollars per carton to pay for the scheme.

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