How Return and Earn works

The NSW Government’s Container Deposit Scheme, Return and Earn, will reduce the volume of litter caused by drink containers that currently make up about 44% of all litter discarded in NSW. Scheme users will receive a 10-cent refund for every eligible drink container submitted to a collection point.

Return and Earn will roll out across the state from 1 December 2017.It will include more than 500 collection points across NSW, including more than 800 reverse vending machines.

Return and Earn will be administered by a Scheme Coordinator, Exchange for Change, and a Network Operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, who will set-up the collection points. The Scheme will be regulated by the NSW EPA.

First suppliers (manufacturers, importers, wholesalers or retailers) bringing eligible drink containers into NSW will be responsible for funding the costs of Return and Earn. Find out more about the role of first suppliers.

Scheme Coordinator

The Scheme Coordinator, Exchange for Change, is responsible for

  • financial management
  • ensuring the Scheme meets its statewide access and recovery targets
  • community education

About Exchange for Change

Exchange for Change is a joint venture of 5 of Australia’s beverage companies: Asahi, Carlton & United Breweries, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coopers Brewery and Lion, who together have more than 40 years’ experience managing container refund programs in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Exchange for Change is committed to

  • achieving environmental outcomes
  • robust, accountable and transparent governance
  • operating Return and Earn efficiently and effectively to minimise the cost to consumers
  • promoting community awareness of Return and Earn

Network Operator

The Network Operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, is responsible for

  • meeting collection targets
  • setting up and running a network of collection points – they can build and operate these themselves, or contract other organisations to do so.

About TOMRA Cleanaway

TOMRA and Cleanaway, the Network Operator, will operate as a joint venture and bring together one of Australia’s greatest logistics companies with the world leader in development and operation of reverse vending technology.

TOMRA is a worldwide organisation and the undisputed leader in providing technology for container deposit systems, with an estimated 75% market share globally. It is also the largest non-retail operator of collection points for used drink containers. Around the world, more than 35 billion used drink containers go through its state-of-the-art reverse vending machines annually.

Cleanaway is Australia’s leading and largest waste management company. Cleanaway’s mission is to 'Make a sustainable future possible' by recognising that every waste item is a resource. Its aim is to incorporate recovery, recycling and reuse in all its operations.

Consumer participation

From 1 December 2017, consumers can participate in Return and Earn in three ways

  1. Take eligible drink containers to collection points including reverse vending machines and claim the refund.
  2. Give eligible containers to charities, schools, sporting groups or other community organisations for them to redeem and claim the refund.
  3. Eligible containers can continue to be placed in the kerbside system, and kerbside recycling will continue to be important for containers that are typically consumed at home; some of which aren’t eligible for a refund within the NSW Container Deposit Scheme.

Collection point distribution

The NSW Government has made it a priority that the community has convenient access to collection points across the state. The Network Operator is required to have in place a minimum of

  1. One collection site for towns of 500 people or more in remote NSW (such as far western NSW) – 15 collection sites.
  2. One collection site for towns of 1,000 people or more in regional NSW, with an additional site for each additional 20,000 people in a town – 150 collection sites.
  3. One collection site for each 20,000 people in the Greater Sydney Region - at least 270 collection sites

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