“Our Teams leap out of bed each day because of what we do! We are absolutely committed to investing and improving for the citizens of NSW.” 

“Our staff are highly engaged and driven to provide an exceptional service that is delivering on so many different outcomes. Every person involved in the scheme will have their own story about why Return and Earn is important.”

1 December 2022 is a day of celebration for all the partners involved in delivering the NSW container deposit scheme, Return and Earn.

At a breakfast event involving key stakeholders from across five years of operation, TOMRA Cleanaway, key charities and community groups, government representatives and our partners at the NSW EPA and scheme coordinator, Exchange for Change celebrated five years of Returning and Earning in NSW.

Mr Dorney took the opportunity to highlight and thank the teams from TOMRA Cleanaway’s shareholders and service providers, TOMRA and Cleanaway, and the extensive and diverse return point network across NSW. TOMRA Cleanaway’s return point network has hundreds of small businesses, charities and community groups, for example, Vinnies NSW, Sell & Parker, Hoxton Industries and Resource Recovery Australia. Each of our partners has harnessed the opportunity that the scheme has enabled.

One of the many amazing stories born out of the TOMRA Cleanaway network for Return and Earn involves the Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) in Wilcannia. A remote community, Wilcannia is 1000km west of Sydney over the Great Dividing Range.

The Wilcannia LALC recognised the opportunity to activate their community to ‘Clean up Country’, reduce litter in the local environment, improve intra-generational engagement and education, provide job opportunities and put money back into their community struggling amidst the worst drought on record.

Continuing considerable effort to ensure the return point hosted through a joint effort continues to thrive has resulted in The Wilcannia LALC receiving a Keep Australia Beautiful Award in 2021 for its actions. Wilcannia LALC has been able to provide employment as a direct benefit of the partnership with the TOMRA Cleanaway network for Return and Earn has provided.

Celebrating 5 Years of Success

The wildly popular recycling scheme has seen numerous milestones achieved in such a short window of time. The people of NSW have demonstrated their considerable enthusiasm for the scheme by returning more than eight billion containers and reducing drink container litter volume by 52 per cent since the NSW Government introduced it in 2017.

Minister For Environment James Griffin said this significant milestone demonstrates how passionate the people of NSW are about turning their trash into treasure.

“While Return and Earn is only five years old, it has already achieved huge success, with more than eight billion containers returned in the last five years,” Mr Griffin said.

“It has delivered a massive 755,000 tonnes of additional material for recycling already, helping remove these containers from becoming landfill or litter.

“The NSW Government’s Return and Earn scheme has kick-started the circular economy in NSW, giving what were some of our most littered items a new life as new food and beverage packaging.

“The incredibly popular scheme has seen more than $800 million in refunds into the pockets of people in NSW, and delivered more than $40 million in donations to charities and community groups.

“I’ll be celebrating the fifth birthday by raising a can of lemonade to celebrate the amazing efforts of the dedicated Return and Earners.”

More than 600 return points are available across NSW, with more return points, including new smaller ‘shop-front’ style return points called ‘Return and Earn Express’, on the way.

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

In October, the NSW Government announced a proposal to expand Return and Earn to include more beverage containers, such as wine and spirits bottles., resulting in an additional 400 million eligible bottles recycled each year, including 233 million glass bottles. The scheme’s expansion would boost recycling rates, reduce landfills, and supercharge our push towards a circular economy in NSW.

Download Minister for the Environment’s Media Release.