A major environment and recycling milestone will be reached this weekend with eight billion bottles, cans and drink cartons returned through the NSW Return and Earn return point network.

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the incredible effort from NSW communities is transforming how we recycle.

“Return and Earn is a wildly successful NSW Government initiative that has well and truly changed the way we think about recycling and litter by turning trash into treasure,” Mr Griffin said.

“Return and Earn has fundamentally shifted people’s behaviour, turning what was once seen as waste into a now-valuable resource for the recycling industry, and delivering huge refunds to the community.

“Since it began in 2017, eight billion containers have now been returned, delivering $800 million in refunds to the people of NSW, and helping us reduce drink container litter by a massive 52 per cent.


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“This is a huge win for our environment, with all plastic containers and glass bottles returned being given a new life and turned back into new food and drink containers to go back on our supermarket shelves within weeks.

“Heading down to the local Return and Earn point has become a routine part of life, and I’d like to thank the almost 80 per cent of adults in NSW who have got involved.”

Return and Earn has contributed more than $35 million in donations to community groups and charities since the scheme launched in December 2017.

St Vincent de Paul Society of NSW Acting CEO Yolanda Saiz says Return and Earn is a key part of the organisation’s fundraising strategy, generating millions of dollars as a return point partner.

“St Vincent de Paul Society NSW’s involvement with Return and Earn has been a great success,” Ms Saiz said.

“Vinnies has seven Return and Earn depots across NSW where we currently employ over 30 people and last financial year our sites processed 95 million containers.

“This helped raise critical funds for the Society that help us provide services to people experiencing poverty and disadvantage.”

Liverpool local Cooper Birtles is 12 years old and has been using Return and Earn to save for his first car, and to support people affected by the recent floods.

“I love seeing the cans and bottles being recycled instead of being chucked away in the rubbish. It’s a great feeling to know that I am doing something good,” Mr Birtles said.

“The thing that I like the most about Return to Earn is that this is something that my Dad and I do together.”

Return and Earn is a partnership between the NSW Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator TOMRA Cleanaway.

There are more than 620 return points located across NSW, ranging from self-service machines which use the latest reverse vending technology to staffed automated depots for bulk returns.