News, Sustainability

11bn drink containers recycled through Return and Earn

Return and Earn has reached a staggering 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, Return and Earn has become a way of life in NSW.

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.

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.

Chief executive officer TOMRA Cleanaway, James Dorney said, “From providing money back in people’s pockets, to supporting the vital work of charities, and providing a clean and reliable stream of recycled materials for manufacturing – it has made NSW a better place.”

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.

Chief executive officer Little Wings, Clare Pearson said, “The Return and Earn campaign has allowed us to connect with schools and business throughout the community to raise valuable funds in support of seriously ill children from across regional and remote NSW in need of access to life-saving medical treatment, but also opened up some powerful conversations about making better decisions towards caring for our planet – one bottle or can at a time.”

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.

Return and Earn 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.

There are more than 620 return points are available across NSW including machines, depots and over-the-counter style.

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