Container deposit scheme

Container deposit scheme

Collection points

To find your nearest collection point, search the online map.

Return and Earn

Return and Earn

Drink containers make up almost half the volume of litter in NSW. The state's largest litter reduction scheme, Return and Earn, started on 1 December 2017 to help reduce more than 160 million drink containers being littered each year. 

The key features of the scheme include:

  • more than 500 collection points across the state, including remote towns of more than 500 people and 270 sites across Greater Sydney when the rollout is complete 
  • 10-cent refund vouchers at reverse vending machines to redeem in-store, electronic funds transfer, cash or to donate to a community group
  • eligible containers covering most glass, cans, plastic and paperboard drink containers between 150 millilitres and 3 litres – those most often found in the litter stream.  

Over a 20-year period the scheme is expected to result in:

  • 1.6 billion fewer drink containers being littered
  • 11 billion fewer drink containers ending up in landfill
  • 12.6 million more drink containers being recycled.
Return and Earn is part of the NSW Government's commitment to reducing litter volume in NSW by 40% by 2020.

What containers can be returned to earn?

Most empty 150 millilitre to 3 litre drink containers will be eligible for a 10-cent refund when presented at an approved NSW collection point. 

Container materials that may be eligible for a refund include:

  • plastic (PET and HDPE)
  • glass
  • aluminium
  • steel
  • liquid paperboard (cartons).

Containers not accepted

Containers not included in the scheme that don't qualify for a refund are:

  • plain milk (or milk substitute) containers
  • flavoured milk containers of 1 litre or more
  • pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of 1 litre or more
  • glass containers for wine or spirits
  • casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine or water of 1 litre or more
  • sachets for wine of 250 millilitres or more
  • cordial and concentrated fruit or vegetable juice containers
  • registered health tonics.

These drinks are mainly consumed at home and are not found in the litter stream. They should continue to be recycled in your yellow bin. The exceptions are also similar to container deposit schemes in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

How to Return and Earn

You can exchange an eligible container at an approved collection point to receive a 10-cent refund for each container.

The containers should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and with the original label attached.

There will be more than 500 collection points across NSW that may include reverse vending machines in your local shopping centre or shops, over-the-counter sites, existing recycling centres or a combination.

Network operator and scheme coordinator

The state government has appointed TOMRA-Cleanaway as the network operator of the Return and Earn scheme. It is responsible for collecting all drink containers across the state and setting up the network of collection points and methods.  

Exchange for Change is the scheme coordinator responsible for financial management, recovery targets and promoting the scheme.


If you have any questions about Return and Earn collection points and locations, please contact:

1800 290 691

If you have any further questions about the Return and Earn scheme, please contact:

Exchange for Change
1800 813 887

Last updated: Monday, 4 December 2017