10 billion containers returned and $1 billion earned

The NSW Return and Earn scheme is on the verge of reaching the milestone of 10 billion recycled cans and bottles at return points.

The NSW Government is encouraging households to help reach the mark in the next 24 to 48 hours, by taking their empty drink containers to their local return point.

Users have earned $1 billion in container refunds since the scheme began in 2017 and have raised $47 million for charities and local community groups.

Families and individuals are using Return and Earn to help with the cost of living; from funding new sports uniforms and swimming lessons, to offsetting everyday costs such as food and petrol.

More than 923,000 tonnes of materials have been recycled through the scheme. Reusing these materials instead of new products, has saved enough energy to power 110,000 homes for a year and enough water to fill 23,000 Olympic swimming pools.

Two out of every three eligible drink container supplied in NSW are now redeemed, increasing recycling rates and reducing the beverage industry’s reliance on virgin plastic, glass and aluminium.

The Return and Earn network continues to grow, with more than 620 return points now operational across NSW.

Return and Earn is delivered in partnership between the NSW Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator TOMRA Cleanaway, and is funded by the beverage industry.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe:
“10 billion items returned in NSW is a significant milestone that demonstrates Return and Earn is a circular economy success story. We are already thinking to the next billion and want to encourage every household to get on the Return and Earn bandwagon.

“Drink container litter in NSW has more than halved.

“We need to continue reducing waste and emissions, and increase recycling, and programs like Return and Earn make it possible.”