Return & Earn

Return and Earn began rolling out across NSW on 1 December 2017 in response to the Premier's goal of reducing the volume of litter in the state by 40% by 2020. At the time, drink container litter made up 44% of the volume of all litter in the state and cost more than $162 million to manage.

Since commencement, 8 billion containers have been returned, delivering $800 million in refunds to the people of NSW, and helping reduce drink container litter in NSW by a massive 52 per cent.

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 are 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.

To find your nearest collection point click here.

Snowy Valleys Collection Points

  • Automated Collection Point - Tumut Resource Recovery Centre, Killarney Road, Gilmore
  • Reverse Vending Machine - Woolworths supermarket car park, Tumut


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I participate?

Exchange an eligible drink container at an approved collection point to receive a 10 cent refund per container. Drink containers should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and with the original label attached.

What containers are eligible?

Most empty 150-millilitre to three litre drink containers will be eligible for a 10 cent refund when presented to an approved NSW collection point.

Drink container materials that may be eligible for a refund include:

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

Drink 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.

What is a Reverse Vending Machine (RMV)?

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.

How do I get paid my refund via a RMV?

Consumers that use an RVM to return their drink containers will have three options to receive a refund payment:

1. Donating to a selected a charity

2. Receiving the refund into your registered account

3. Taking a voucher into the retail partner to either redeem for cash or use towards your purchase

Can I crush my cans and bottles?

No. Do not crush containers prior to redeeming your refund. Drink containers, should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and with the original label attached. Containers must be verified as eligible before a refund is paid.

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.

How can my school or community group use Return and Earn to fund raise?

Charities, schools, community or sporting groups can collect donations of empty eligible drink bottles and cans 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, TOMRA-Cleanaway to set up and run collection points in exchange for a service fee.

Can I still use my yellow-lid bin for recycling cans and bottles?

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

Eligible drink containers can continue to be placed in your recycling bin along with containers that aren’t eligible for a refund within Return and Earn.

You will not personally receive the refund if you put eligible containers in kerbside recycling. Instead Council has the opportunity to enter into an agreement with its recycling facility to agree a refund sharing arrangement from those containers.

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

Is this a council scheme

No, Return and Earn is a NSW Government initiative that is run by a Scheme Coordinator, Exchange for Change, and a Network Operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, which is responsible for the network of collection points.

How do I become a collection point?

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