NSW Container Deposit Scheme

The NSW Container Deposit Scheme (Return and Earn) commenced on 1 December 2017.  We were relieved to have made it to that point, as many people said it would never happen.
Prior to 2017, about 160 million beverage containers were littered in NSW every year. They are now worth around $16 million a year in refunds and the people of NSW have embraced the scheme.  More than 1 billion containers were collected in the first year (2018) alone! The rate doubled in 2019 and has now reached over 7 billion since 2017 (as at 2021).  Recycling has increased from 33% to almost 70%.  Litter is down by over 40%.
There are several ways to redeem your 10c refund in NSW: 
  • Reverse Vending Machines, located in convenient places all over NSW; 
  • Over the Counter Collection Points, including local convenience stores and cafes, 
  • Automated Depots where families, individuals, community groups, sports clubs etc can take a boot load, trailer load or just a big bag.  

You can check out the location of these collection points here. More are being added and you can still register to be a collection point or host a Reverse Vending Machine. So if you want more locations near you, get out and talk to potential site owners and email [email protected] to register your interest.

The NSW scheme took a while to settle in, as the amount of time between the Government confirming who would operate the network and the start date of the scheme was too short to install all the collection sites that were promised.  The implementation is a gradual process as the best sites and customer demand are proven over time.  
The convenience of collection points has always been important and we continue to push for a world class system that is as accessible to consumers as much as possible. 
It’s your choice though – you can keep using the council recycling bin and know that council can use that refund money to improve waste services in your community (Councils can negotiate to share in the deposit); or you can take them to your nearest collection point when it’s convenient for you… or you can choose to donate your refunds to a local good cause.
There were some concerns that the cost of beverages would increase above the value of the 10c deposit and handling fee.  The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) reported in September, after 9 months of price monitoring across the state, that in fact, the cost of beverages had increased below the amount of the 10c deposit, so those consumers who were making use of the scheme to return their containers and redeem their deposits, were actually paying less for beverages than before the scheme began.   

If you have noticed an unreasonable price increase on your favourite beverages since the scheme began (eg: above 15c per container) we would encourage you to refer your observation to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)  

Also Return and Earn has created over 700 jobs and millions of dollars of investment in new infrastructure.  New plastic bottle to bottle and expanded glass recycled content plants using the collected containers are now being built on the back of the scheme's success.

We've compiled a list of the questions we get asked most often. If you are still unclear about Return and Earn please fell free to contact us.

Sure, it’s been a slightly bumpy road but the teething problems have been ironed out and the results have demonstrated that it’s worth the effort. NSW already has a much cleaner environment, with far fewer bottles and containers finding their way into the litter stream. We have charities and social enterprises that are earning vital revenue through donated deposits and we have significantly reduced the quantity of plastic container that have found their way to the ocean – what’s not to love?

Your frequently asked questions answered here!

More information about the NSW CDS


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This page was last updated on 25 March 2019