Statistics have shown that NSW used to throw away approximately 160 million drink containers each year. The annual cost for local communities to clean up and manage all these containers was also pretty high at almost $200 million. In order to help create a pollution solution, the Return and Earn container deposit scheme was launched in December of 2017.

What Is The Return And Earn Scheme?

Created by the NSW Government, the Return and Earn initiative is the state’s largest ever litter reduction program which encourages people to collect and return recyclable items. Individuals, households, schools, and charitable organisations are all able to take aluminium and plastic containers to any Return and Earn collection location where they will earn 10 cents for each eligible piece.

In the first 2 years alone, the Return and Earn scheme has had over 3 billion containers collected and returned to reverse vending machines, automated depots, and over the counter locations, all for 10 cents a pop. It doesn’t matter if who originally paid for the container, or if it was litter that was picked up from the side of the road. And the more eligible containers returned to the more cold hard cash you can make.

The scheme has already had a massively positive and powerful impact on the environment by reducing the total amount of littered empty containers in our communities. The money it has injected into our state economy has also been huge as refunds add up very quickly, eventually stretching a long way beyond just a 10 cent value.

Where Can You Return And Earn?

There are plenty of Return And Earn collection points in both regional and metropolitan priority collection areas of New South Wales. There are many different types of Return And Earn collection locations throughout the state, which include reverse vending machines, recycling centres, and automated depot sites, as well as over the counter locations like at local shops and inside shopping centres.

The state has been divided into 7 separate zones in total, and TOMRA Cleanaway is required to meet the collection target of each zone. As there are always new collection points being added across New South Wales, there is now an interactive map available online to locate your nearest collection point.

What Items Does Return And Earn Take?

While most beverage containers which are meant to be consumed while on the go and commonly found as litter are eligible for a refund at Return And Earn, there are some cans, bottles, and cartons that they do not accept. Containers made from PET, HDPE, glass, aluminium, steel, or liquid paperboard materials like soft drink cans, beer bottles, juice cartons or poppers are all eligible for a 10-cent refund.

As long as they have a volume of between 150ml and 3 Litres, and are empty, unbroken, uncrushed, and have the original label still attached when they are returned. If you are unsure, just look for the 10c return label to see if the container is definitely eligible for a refund.

What Items Don’t Return And Earn Take?

Items that are most often used at home will not generally be refundable at a Return And Earn collection point. These can include glass wine bottles, cordial containers, glass spirit bottles, large juice containers or bottles, large plastic cask bladders for boxed wine or water, and large containers for plain milk, flavoured milk, or milk substitutes. While these containers may not be eligible for a refund, please remember to dispose of them in a household recycling bin.

What Can You Do With Items Return And Earn Doesn’t Take?

While the New South Wales government’s Return And Earn collection initiative is an amazing scheme, they do not accept all containers. If you have anything that is not eligible for a refund at Return And Earn collection points, it is important to do the right thing by ensuring all of your rubbish and recycling is sorted correctly and discarded in the correct way.

Take all of your rubbish to bins, recycling depots, or council pick up. If anything you need discarded can still be used for something, it’s a good idea to help reduce landfill by donating it to your local charity or community group for reuse wherever possible. But what can you do if you have a large amount of rubbish every week that doesn’t fit in the local council bins? Or maybe you just have some junk at your home that you need removed urgently?

Well, that’s when the Cheapest Load of Rubbish team can help you! We provide comprehensive junk collection, general waste management, and waste removal services throughout Sydney. You can always rely on our exceptional rubbish disposal solutions whenever you need us and wherever you are.

Our fully insured waste operation provides free no obligation onsite quotes and same day rubbish removal, so you can always relax knowing that your rubbish will be collected and disposed of safely and responsibly. Just remember that even if your containers aren’t eligible for a refund at Return and Earn, it should still be recycled if allowed via your curb side collection of household recycling. 

Why You Shouldn’t Dump Any Rubbish?

Illegal dumping not only has a terribly damaging effect on us humans, but also the local wildlife and sea creatures. That’s because pollution from any dumped waste can very easily end up in streams and rivers before it eventually makes its way out into the ocean.

Whenever rubbish is dumped illegally in your local community, not only does it look terrible, but it also has a huge impact on the area as a whole. To combat illegal dumping in order to keep our community clean, pristine, and safe, the NSW government have put heavy penalties in place while also investing millions of dollars in cleaning up all of the litter, rubbish, and other mess.

Return and Earn has already fundamentally changed our behaviour and attitudes towards littering, recycling, and controlling our waste. This is very helpful as it will help us to ensure the beautiful environment remains that way for our wildlife and for many future generations to come.