Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Return and Earn Turns Five

Plastic bottles

NSW is celebrating five years of the popular Return and Earn recycling scheme, with the local community showing their support for the program by returning more than 66 million containers in the Ku-ring-gai and Hornsby local government areas.

Member for Ku-ring-gai Alister Henskens SC congratulated the community for its enthusiastic participation in Return and Earn since the scheme was launched by the NSW Government in 2017.

“Visiting your local Return and Earn return point has become a routine part of life for residents in the Ku-ring-gai Electorate,” Mr Henskens said.

“Every container returned is not just money in your pocket, it’s also a valuable resource helping to supercharge our circular economy here in NSW.

“It’s also a major win for our environment, with the returned plastic and glass bottles being transformed from trash into treasure and becoming new food and drink packaging.

“Return and Earn shows that together we can make a positive change to benefit our environment.”

More than 600 return points are available across NSW and there are more return points, including new smaller ‘shop-front’ style return points called ‘Return and Earn Express’, on the way.

Minister for Environment James Griffin said this significant milestone demonstrates just how passionate the people of NSW are about turning their trash into treasure.

“While Return and Earn is only five years old, it has already achieved huge success, with more than eight billion containers returned in the last five years,” Mr Griffin said.

“It has delivered a massive 755,000 tonnes of additional material for recycling already, helping remove these containers from becoming landfill or litter.

“The incredibly popular scheme has seen more than $800 million in refunds into the pockets of people in NSW, and delivered more than $40 million in donations to charities and community groups.”

Return and Earn is a partnership between the NSW Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator TOMRA Cleanaway.

In October, the NSW Government announced a proposal to expand Return and Earn to include even more types of beverage containers, such as wine and spirits bottles.

This would result in an additional 400 million eligible bottles recycled each year, including 233 million glass bottles.

The scheme expansion would boost recycling rates, reduce landfill, and supercharge our push towards a circular economy in NSW.

Public consultation on the plans closes on 2 December 2022, for more information visit