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New South Wales Return and Earn Container Deposit Scheme hits 64 million returns

Date: 01-Feb-18
Author: Josh Cole

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton making use of a Return and Earn reverse vending machine © Gabrielle Upton

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton making use of a Return and Earn reverse vending machine

NSW residents have returned a massive 64 million containers to collection points and reverse vending machines since December 1 2017.

As of today (Thursday, February 1) Return and Earn, the product of collaboration between the NSW EPA and TOMRA Cleanaway, is reporting that over 64 million containers have been brought back for recycling by New South Wales residents.

The suburbs of Emerton and Casula were the first to pass the ‘1 million returned mark’ with Granville and Revesby following soon after on January 20/21.

After the environmental benefits, the 10c refund is the most obvious incentive to recycle, with the 2016 National Waste Report finding that South Australia’s long-running container deposit scheme (CDS)  was a factor in the state being the top recycler with a 78% resource recovery rate.

Planet Ark’s Recycling Programs Manager, Ryan Collins, says he’s looking forward to seeing how 2018’s reporting reflects the impact of Return and Earn. On a similar note a NSW EPA spokesman has said that they hope to reduce the volume of litter in New South Wales by 40% by the year 2020.

Another incentive for NSW consumers to return their containers comes in the form of the option to donate refunds to charities via reverse vending machines, with the Initial Donation Partners being the Cancer Council, Planet Ark, St Vincent De Paul and Surf Lifesaving Australia.

The launch of Return and Earn makes NSW the third area currently operating a CDS alongside South Australia and the North Territory, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory will launch similar schemes on July 1 2018, with Western Australia to follow on January 1 in 2019.

It is hoped that the introduction of these schemes across the country will spur Tasmania and Victoria to implement their own container deposit programs, with the cost of implementation being the reason both have avoided doing so in the past.

Anyone unsure as to what they can return should visit Return and Earn’s website, but we’ve included it below for your reference:

“Most 150ml to three litre drink containers will be eligible for a 10 cent refund at an approved NSW collection point. Container materials that may be eligible for a refund include:

Containers should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and have the original label attached. Wine, spirits, cordial and plain milk containers are generally not eligible.”


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Josh                                              Cole
Author: Josh Cole

Josh comes to Planet Ark after a stint in legal communication and from a background in print journalism. He studied Communications and Media as a mature age student in Wollongong where he re-discovered his love for the natural environment.

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