Government issues reminder to return and earn consumers

Return-and-Earn-bottlesNSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a reminder of what consumers “can” return to claim the 10c refund part of its container deposit scheme.

The government authority said the ‘return and earn’ scheme has passed the 28 million returns mark.

The EPA said there are currently 324 collection points operating across the state and, with more being rolled out every week, EPA acting chair and chief executive officer Mark Gifford said it was a good idea for people using the system for the first time to check the list of eligible containers before heading out to their local collection point.

“The list of eligible containers has been created based on an analysis of the types of containers that are most often found in the litter stream, and it matches closely to other states with container deposit schemes in place, like South Australia and the Northern Territory,” Gifford said.

NSW EPA said there are more than 160 million drink containers littered across the state each year, and drink containers make up almost half the volume of total litter in NSW.

“As more people across NSW get on board with Return and Earn, or continue to recycle through their local council collections, we expect to see a significant reduction in the millions of containers that are tossed onto roadsides, parks and waterways each year,” added Gifford.

The implementation of the scheme has not been without controversy. In December last year, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro labelled the rollout of the state government’s scheme as “diabolical”.

Late last year, The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) called for the introduction of the CDS to be delayed, on the basis that the infrastructure required was not in place to deliver the scheme.

AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said concerns raised by the convenience industry – a sector set to bear be impacted by the CDS – remain unaddressed, including the absence of a public education program.

Dos and don’ts

Containers returned to a reverse vending machine or over-the-counter collection point do not need to be in pristine condition but should be empty and uncrushed, and have the label intact. This is to ensure the label can be scanned at the collection point and the container be confirmed as eligible for the 10c return. Ineligible containers should be recycled where possible, or disposed of in appropriate bins.

Containers that cannot be deposited for a refund include:

  • Plain milk (or milk substitute) containers
  • Flavoured milk containers of one litre or more
  • Pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of one litre or more
  • Wine and spirit glass bottles
  • Casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine or water of one litre or more
  • Sachets for wine of 250ml or more
  • Containers for cordials and concentrated fruit/vegetable juices
  • Registered health tonics


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