NSW had been responsible for one of the highest litter volume rates in Australia with drink containers making up the highest proportion at nearly 50% and the community spending at over $180 million per year for cleaning and managing it.
To provide a solution to this pollution the NSW container deposit scheme Return and Earn was launched on 1stDecember 2017.
By July 2019 Return and Earn had recycled its two billionth container and are well onto their third. In just 19 months the scheme had reached this major milestone, thanks to the efforts of hundreds of thousands of individuals and families across the state. Almost half of the adult population of NSW has participated in Return and Earn and with the scheme delivering benefits right across the board from the environment, jobs and communities – so many reasons to get involved.
Return and Earn has fundamentally changed people’s behaviour and thinking around litter.
How Does It Work?
Simple – anybody returning an eligible container to one of around 640 return points (including reverse vending machines, over the counter and automated depots) gets a 10-cent refund. It can be a container they’ve used themselves, picked up as litter, or collected for fundraising.
Many groups such as schools, charities, sporting and community organisations and individuals are already using Return and Earn to fundraise and clean up the environment at the same time. Scouts NSW have been active participants as well as Vinnie’s, where Return and Earn has actually created a new business arm for the charity. There are now more than a dozen over-the-counter return points in Vinnie’s shops throughout western Sydney. Vinnie’s involvement in Return and Earn has created more than 30 extra jobs, training opportunities for disadvantaged people, and a new income stream to help with their valuable work in the community.
Return and Earn has been a phenomenal success and has significantly reduced drink container litter in NSW.