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Return and Earn


The NSW Government is delivering the largest litter reduction scheme ever introduced in NSW, Return and Earn.

Return and Earn will roll out from 1 December 2017 and will help to reduce the 160 million drink containers littered in our environment each year. Drink containers make up almost half of the volume of litter in NSW.

Return and Earn is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to reducing litter volume in NSW by 40% by 2020.

Key features of Return and Earn are:

  • When the scheme is fully rolled out, there will be more than 500 collection points across the state, including in remote towns of more than 500 people and at 270 sites across the Greater Sydney Region;
  • The 10-cent refund at reverse vending machines will be provided as a voucher for in-store redemption, electronic transfer, cash or may be donated to a community group;
  • Eligible containers include most glass, cans, plastic and paperboard drink containers between 150 millilitres and three litres – those most often found in the litter stream.
Collection Points Fact Sheet[86Kb]
Residents Fact Sheet[91Kb]
Return and Earn Website

How will this benefit my community?

The main beneficiaries of the scheme will be the environment and the community. 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.

What containers are eligible?

Most empty 150-millilitre to three litre beverage containers will be eligible for a 10cent refund when presented to an approved NSW collection point. However, there are some exceptions which are detailed within this page.

Container materials that may be eligible for a refund include:

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

Scheme exceptions

Containers that are not included in the scheme and, therefore, 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 litterstream. They are also broadly similar to the exceptions in the South Australian and Northern Territory container deposit schemes, to aid consistency.

How do I participate?

From 1 December 2017, consumers can exchange an eligible container at an approved collection point to receive a 10 cent refund per container. 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 (RVMs) in your local shopping centre or shops, over the counter sites, existing recycling centres, or a combination of all.

Find my nearest collection point.

Frequently Asked Questions

The closest collection point in the Inverell region is located at the Woolworths Inverell carpark. View the operating hours for this collection point.

You can locate other collections points by using the Return and Earn locator map.

There will be more than 500 Return and Earn collection points across NSW when the scheme is fully rolled out. The Network Operator, TOMRA-Cleanaway, will be finalising these locations over the coming months.

  • Major urban area – At least 35 ordinary hours each week, including at least 8 weekend hours
  • Regional area – At least 24 ordinary hours each week, including at least 8 weekend hours
  • Remote area – At least 16 ordinary hours each 2-week period, including at least 8 weekend hours

The Network Operator, 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

Kerbside recycling remains very important to our community, and Return and Earn is designed to complement this system. 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 are fund within Return and Earn.

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

A reverse vending machine (RVM) is the opposite of a drink dispensing machine. A person places their empty eligible drink container into the machine, the container is scanned to verify it is eligible and the person receives a voucher they can redeem for cash in a store nearby. These machines are designed to not to hold cash for security reasons.

Consumers that use an RVM to return their containers 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.

No. Do not crush containers prior to redeeming your refund.

Containers should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and with the original label attached. Containers must be verified as eligible before a refund is paid.

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.

To register your interest to run a collection point visit the website of the Network Operator, TOMRA-Cleanaway and fill out their online form:

Charities, schools, community or sporting groups can collect donations of empty eligible containers for the charity or community group to then redeem them at an approved collection point.

Charities, community groups, and social enterprises can also work with the Network Operator to set up and run collection points in exchange for a service fee.

Please note that Council publications are available in Portable Document Format (PDF) and require Abobe Acrobat to open. Adobe Acrobat Reader is available from the Adobe website  Adobe Acrobat software has an embeded ‘screen reader’ which can read aloud the text in most PDF files and is available for free at



Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:30am - 4:30pm

General Manager
PO Box 138 Inverell NSW 2360

Administration Centre

144 Otho Street
Inverell NSW 2360

Phone: (02) 6728 8288
Fax: (02) 6728 8277
ABN: 72 695 204 530