NSW Container Deposit Scheme

Ernie Earn and Learn WombatThe NSW Government's Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) Return and Earn will start on 1 December 2017.

The aim to reduce the 160 million drink containers littered in our environment each year. Here are some statistics.

  • Drink containers make up almost half of the volume of litter in NSW
  • Sixty-five percent of NSW consumers drink an average of 5.4 drinks outside the home each week
  • 70% of these containers are not brought home to recycle

What is Return and Earn?

Anyone who returns an eligible drink container to an approved NSW Collection Point will receive a 10 cent refund.

Exchange for Change will oversee the Return and Earn scheme as the financial and reporting manager.

TOMRA-Cleanaway will be responsible for establishing and managing collection points and collection infrastructure across NSW.

How will this benefit my community?

Return and Earn aims to reduce litter volume in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020.

Over the next 20 years, the Scheme is expected to result in:

  • 1.6 billion fewer beverage containers being littered
  • Almost 11 billion fewer beverage containers ending up in landfill
  • 12.6 billion more beverage containers being recycled

How do I get involved?

Take your eligible empty container to a Collection Point for a 10-cent refund.

Collection Points will include Reverse Vending Machines (RVM) in shopping centres and over-the-counter sites. Alternatively, you can donate your containers to a charity which can redeem the refund to raise money.

TOMRA-Cleanaway has a hotline number for people to call with any queries, complaints or feedback about collection points. Please call 1800 290 691 or email enquiries@tcnsw.com.au.

What is a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM)?

A reverse vending machine (RVM) is the opposite of a drink dispensing machine.

You place an empty eligible drink container into the machine, the machine scans the container for eligibility and you receive a voucher you can redeem for cash in a store nearby.

These machines do not hold cash for security reasons.

What containers can be recycled for a refund?

Most empty 150-millilitre to three litre beverage containers will be eligible for a 10 cent refund when presented to an approved NSW collection point. Container materials that may be eligible for a refund include:

  • PET
  • HDPE
  • glass
  • aluminium
  • steel
  • liquid paperboard

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

What containers can't be recycled for a refund

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

  • plain milk (or milk substitute) containers
  • flavoured milk containers of one litre or more
  • pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of one litre or more
  • glass containers for wine and spirits
  • casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine and casks for water of one litre or more
  • sachets for wine of 250 millilitres or more
  • containers for cordials, and concentrated fruit/vegetable juices
  • 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 in Scheme consistency.

How do I get paid my refund?

You will have three options to receive a refund payment:

  • Donating to a selected a charity
  • Receiving the refund into your registered account
  • Taking a voucher into the retail partner to either redeem for cash or use towards your purchase

Do I need to remove the lid from my container?

No. Bottles with lids can go through RVMs without difficulty. The lids are a valuable resource and will be recycled too. We don’t want lids ending up as litter.

Can I still use my recycling bin at home?

Yes. The CDS is designed to complement at home recycling systems.

You can still place eligible containers in your recycling bin as the recycling service will continue to be important for containers that are typically consumed at home, some of which are not eligible for a refund within Return and Earn.

You will not personally receive the refund if you put containers in kerbside recycling.

Who do I call if my collection point is not open or my RVM is broken?

TOMRA-Cleanaway has a hotline number for people to call with any queries, complaints or feedback about collection points. Please call 1800 290 691 or email enquiries@tcnsw.com.au.

Where can I find out more information?

Information and updates are available at EPA website and NSW Government Return and Earn website.

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