Circular Economy, Container Deposit Schemes, NSW, Opinion

Return and Earn processes 11 billionth container

Return and Earn has reached a 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.

Thanks to the incredible support of communities across the state, the scheme has become a way of life in NSW. People’s enthusiasm for the scheme has resulted in $1.1 billion in container refunds back in people’s pockets and $54 million raised for charities and community groups via donated refunds and return point hosting fees.

Over the past six years, the 10-cent container refunds have helped families and individuals with cost-of-living pressures, to reach their saving goals and, importantly, 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 their vital community service.

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 benefitting 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.

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

The scheme 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.  

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