• Return and Earn celebrates 11 billion bottles, cans and cartons recycled in NSW since the scheme began in 2017.
    Return and Earn celebrates 11 billion bottles, cans and cartons recycled in NSW since the scheme began in 2017.
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Return and Earn has reached a major new milestone, celebrating 11 billion bottles, cans and cartons returned through the return point network for recycling in NSW since the scheme began in 2017.

Return and Earn says that thanks to the “incredible support of communities across the state”, $1.1 billion in container refunds are back in people’s pockets, and $54 million has been raised for charities and community groups via donated refunds and return point hosting fees.

“In six short years, Return and Earn has become a shining example of what’s possible when we all work together to tackle a tricky problem,” said Danielle Smalley. CEO of Exchange for Change, scheme coordinator of Return and Earn.

“Thanks to support from the NSW community and the beverage and resource recovery industries, more than 11 billion bottles, cans and cartons have been diverted from landfill to become in-demand commodities in our growing circular economy.”

Over the past six years, the 10-cent container refunds have helped families and individuals with cost-of-living pressures and have given back to hundreds of charities and community groups.

Charities such as Little Wings have benefited from fundraising through the scheme, which supports their work providing free flight and ground transport services for seriously ill children in regional areas.

Donating just 20 eligible bottles, cartons or cans funds one litre of fuel for its vital community service.

“The Return and Earn campaign has allowed us to connect with schools and business throughout the community to raise valuable funds in support of seriously ill children from across regional and remote NSW in need of access to lifesaving medical treatment, but also opened up some powerful conversations about making better decisions towards caring for our planet – one bottle or can at a time,” said Clare Pearson, CEO of Little Wings.

There are hundreds of charities across NSW who, like Little Wings, have made Return and Earn a key part of their fundraising activities, either as an official donation partner on the Return and Earn app, by partnering with a Return and Earn depot or running ‘bottle drives’ to redeem at their local return point.

Charities are also benefiting from hosting return points across the state – receiving income as either the landlord of a Return and Earn machine or operating a depot in partnership with network operator TOMRA Cleanaway.

“Return and Earn is delivering significant and tangible environmental, social and economic benefits to the people of NSW,” said James Dorney, CEO of TOMRA Cleanaway, Return and Earn’s network operator.

“From providing money back in people’s pockets, to supporting the vital work of charities, and providing a clean and reliable stream of recycled materials for manufacturing – it has made NSW a better place.”

With all plastic and glass drink containers collected through the network being recycled in Australia, Return and Earn has become a leading contributor to the country’s growing domestic circular economy.

Return and Earn is delivered in partnership between the NSW government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change, and network operator TOMRA Cleanaway, and is funded by the beverage industry.

Return and Earn has become a leading contributor to the country’s growing domestic circular economy.
Return and Earn has become a leading contributor to the country’s growing domestic circular economy.

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