Circular Economy, New South Wales, News

How Return and Earn became a recycling success

The NSW Return and Earn program has seen over four billion containers recycled since 2017 through the scheme.

According to Environment Minister Matt Kean, the program’s design enabled it to deliver tangible environmental, social and economic benefits to NSW, including more than $10.4 million paid to not-for-profits and charities via donations.

“The latest research shows 75 per cent of residents have now participated in Return and Earn – this is a phenomenal achievement in less than three years,” Kean said.

“It also highlights the importance of community-based return point operators like local newsagencies, corner stores and post offices.”

Job opportunities

Return and Earn has provided opportunities for local business to get on board and realise the potential for commercial opportunities and local job creation.

In turn, local businesses have improved customer access by increasing the number of return points.

Kean said that the benefits of the scheme for the environment and to the individual are clear: less material ending up as litter or landfill while being rewarded for each container returned.

“Benefitting from being part of the scheme are social enterprises like Vinnies which have set up their own return points and collected over 100 million containers.

“This has created jobs for many people within communities, including those with disabilities and the long-term unemployed,” he added.

The network of return points in NSW currently consists of 245 over-the-counter return points and 27 automated depots, alongside the 325 reverse vending machines.