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NSW Container Deposit Scheme

What is Return and Earn?

On December 1 2017, NSW Government introduced the Return and Earn Scheme to reduce litter on streets, beaches, waterways and parks. 

The container deposit scheme is a NSW Government initiative funded by contributions from the beverage industry. It offers a 10c refund to consumers for depositing eligible drink containers at return points across NSW.

Since the launch, the scheme has collected over 2 billion containers through its 600+ return points and has helped reduce the volume of eligible drink container litter across the state.

How does Return and Earn work?

1. Collect eligible bottles and cans

Not all bottles, cans and cartons are included in Return and Earn. To help you work out what can and can’t be returned, use our quick container checker or search the container database. Remember, even if a container isn’t eligible for a Return and Earn refund, it can still be recycled through your household recycling collection.

Good to go: most drink bottles and cans

Containers that are accepted by Return and Earn

These containers are most commonly found as litter in NSW. They’re often consumed ‘on the go.’

  • Cans (e.g. soft drinks)
  • Bottles ( e.g. beer bottles)
  • Cartons (e.g. milk cartons)
  • Juice boxes or poppers

Most containers between 150ml and 3 litres are accepted and can get you a refund. However, they must:

  • Be in good condition (not be crushed or broken)
  • Be empty
  • Have the label attached

No go: items that are not refundable

Containers not accepted by Return and Earn


These items aren’t accepted but can still go into household recycling. They’re often used at home.

  • Any milk containers that are 1 litre or more
  • Glass wine bottles
  • Glass spirit bottles
  • Juice bottles over 1 litre
  • Cordial bottles

If you're unsure whether your container is eligible or not, check the container database.

2. Take your containers to a return point

There are currently have over 600 Return and Earn return points across New South Wales. There are different types of return points  and the best one for you could depend on how many bottles, cans and cartons you are returning and how you would like to receive your refund.

Find a return point

 3. Earn a refund or make a donation

Every eligible bottle, can or carton you return is worth 10 cents.  Reverse Vending Machines offer you cash vouchers, electronic payment (via the myTOMRA app) or the option to donate.  Over the Counter sites offer you cash refunds and some offer the opportunity to donate.  Automated Depots offer cash refunds and some offer electronic transfers.

Learn more

Last updated on 18 February 2020