In 2019, the NSW Return and Earn scheme saw 1.7 billion drink containers recycled, with almost half of the adult population of NSW having participated in Return and Earn.
The scheme reports a 57 per cent reduction in eligible container litter volume around the state and the creation of more than 500 new jobs in the growing recycling and sustainability space.
The scheme also calculates that around $440,000 in donations have been raised by 350-plus charity groups – and that’s only those that are known and registered!
Here’s everything you need to know to get in on the action.
Return and Earn locations
Reverse Vending Machine
- Woolworths Marsfield Carpark – corner of Balaclava Rd & Epping Rd Marsfield
- Macquarie Centre Carpark – corner of Waterloo Rd & Herring Rd, Macquarie Park. Enter via the Woolworths carpark on Talavera Rd
- SUPA IGA Meadowbank – 11A Bay Drive, Meadowbank
- Caltex Concord West – 369 – 375 Concord Rd, Concord West
- Briars Sports Club Car Park – Ian Parade, Concord
- Sydney Markets Flemington – 318 Parramatta Rd, Homebush West
- Marina Square Wentworth Point – 5 Footbridge Blvd, Wentworth Point
Over The Counter
- Foodworks Tennyson – 80 Tennyson Road, Tennyson Point
- Manila Mart – 23 Ryedale Road, West Ryde
- Inmi Convenience Store – 128 Quarry Road, Ryde
- Ryedale Road Newsagency – 31 Ryedale Road West Ryde
- Gladesville Four Square – 30 Pittwater Road, Gladesville
- North Epping Newsagency – 2/288 Malton Road, North Epping
- Concord West Newsagency – 331 Concord Road, Concord West
- Concord West Newsagency Supermarket – 33 Victoria Avenue, Concord West
- Dundas Village Newsagency – 2 Station Street, Dundas
- R & L Mini Mart – 55 Adderton Road, Telopea
What can I return?
Most 150ml to 3-litre drink containers (UNCRUSHED) will be eligible for a 10 cent refund at an approved NSW collection point including:
- Liquid paperboard (cartons)
- Containers should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and have the original label attached.
What can’t I return?
Containers that can’t be deposited for a refund include:
- Plain milk (or milk substitute) containers
- Flavoured milk containers of one litre or more
- Pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of one litre or more
- Glass containers for wine and spirits
- Casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine or water of one litre or more
- Sachets for wine of 250ml or more
- Containers for cordials and concentrated fruit/vegetable juices
- Registered health tonics
- Containers that have been crushed
If a container isn’t eligible for a refund, please use a recycling bin.
How do I get my money?
When you return containers at a reverse vending machine, you can obtain a refund in three ways:
- Receive a voucher to be redeemed for cash or an in-store credit at a participating retail partner (such as a Woolworths)
- Register to receive a direct payment to your designated bank account via PayPal (you need to download the app first!)
- Donate the refund to charities and community groups linked to the reverse vending machines
(The reverse vending machines do not hold cash).
How the different drop points work
Reverse vending machines
A Reverse Vending machine (RVM) is the opposite of a vending machine – the consumer simply places empty, uncrushed and unbroken drink containers into the RVM where they are scanned and processed. It will take up to 500 eligible containers in any one transaction. If eligible, the RVM will provide a refund in one of three ways mentioned above.
Over-the-counter collection points
An over-the-counter (OTC) collection point is a place you can take smaller quantities of eligible drink containers (usually up to 100 containers). The collection point operator will ensure the containers are eligible and are uncrushed and unbroken. After verifying and counting, a refund of 10 cents per container is provided in cash.
An automated depot provides consumers with a high volume (over 500 eligible containers) collection point. The automated depot has a mechanical scanning and counting system that provides for efficient processing of bulk lodgements. Refunds are processed as a retail refund. Donations and digital refunds are not available from automated depots.
Ok, so you’re ready to do your bit! Before you go, save time by separating your glass from plastic and cans into reusable tubs before you leave home. Remember, bottle lids can be recycled if you leave them on and if you’re using an express bulk depot, you don’t need to sort.