Return and Earn: Container Deposit Scheme

The NSW Government’s container deposit scheme, Return and Earn, rolls out from Friday, 1 December 2017. It will help to reduce the 160 million drink containers littered in our environment each year by offering a 10 cent refund for the types of containers most often found in the litter stream.

Return and Earn is part of the state government’s commitment to reducing litter volume in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020. To find out more about Return and Earn, please visit the EPA website.

Key components of the scheme:

  • When the scheme is fully rolled out, there will be more than 500 collection points across the state, with at least 270 sites across the Greater Sydney Region.
  • Collection points will be reverse vending machines (RVMs) in shopping centres and other central areas, over the counter sites, existing recycling centres, or a combination of these.
  • The 10-cent refund at reverse vending machines will be provided as a voucher for in store redemption, electronic transfer, cash or may be donated to a community group.
  • Eligible containers include most glass bottles, cans, plastic and paperboard drink containers between 150 millilitres and three litres - those most often found in the litter stream.
  • Containers should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and with the original label attached.

Collection points can be found at the Return and Earn online map.
The map will be updated as new sites are added.

Eligible Containers

Most empty 150-millilitre to three litre beverage containers will be eligible for refund.

Containers that may be eligible for a refund include:

Green Tick - Allowed Plastic bottles
Green Tick - Allowed Glass bottles
Green Tick - Allowed Aluminium cans
Green Tick - Allowed Liquid paper cartons
Green Tick - Allowed Steel beverage cans

Containers that are not included in the scheme and, therefore, do not qualify for a refund are:

Red Cross - Not Allowed Plain milk (or milk substitute) containers
Red Cross - Not Allowed Flavoured milk containers of one litre or more
Red Cross - Not Allowed Pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of one litre or more
Red Cross - Not Allowed Glass containers for wine and spirits
Red Cross - Not Allowed Casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine and casks for water of one litre or more
Red Cross - Not Allowed Sachets for wine of 250 millilitres or more
Red Cross - Not Allowed Containers for cordials, and concentrated fruit/vegetable juices
Red Cross - Not Allowed Registered health tonics

These drinks are predominantly consumed at home and are not found in the litter stream. They are also broadly similar to the exceptions in the South Australian and Northern Territory container deposit schemes, to aid consistency.

Can I still use my yellow-lidded recycling bin?

Return and Earn is designed to complement the kerbside recycling scheme, not to replace it. Residents are still encouraged to utilise their yellow-lidded bin for containers that are consumed in the home.