Our ‘Return and Earn’ Reverse Vending Machine Experience

Return and Earn Reverse Vending Machine

A few weeks back, our family visited our first Return and Earn collection point to drop off some drink containers in their reverse vending machine for recycling. The point of the visit was many-fold:

1) To get involved in protecting and cleaning up our environment by actively making an effort in recycling. We, as individuals can help complement our usual kerbside recycling (via our yellow bins) by sorting out and depositing eligible containers at the collection point before they reach kerbside recycling to hasten the recycling process and reduce the costs associated container removal for our local councils.

2) To teach our kids the importance of recycling by actively playing a role in recycling. Even though we recycle at home, their involvement is really just placing recyclable items into our yellow bin, and perhaps seeing the waste then being emptied into the rubbish truck – helping to sort and making a trip to the collection point allows them to feel like a form of responsibility in their recycling efforts.

3) To earn a small reward in return for their assistance in reducing our environmental impact. This gives them a sense of achievement and is also a fun way to help out.

The kids definitely had a lot of enjoyment from helping to place containers into the vending machines. It was nice to get actively involved in recycling and be rewarded at the same time. This is something that we’ll surely be continuing to do as a family.


Here are some useful information on the ‘Return and Earn’ container deposit scheme:

  • The scheme was rolled out on December 1, 2017
  • The goal of the scheme by the NSW Government is to reduce litter volume by 40% by 2020 in NSW
  • Returning an eligible container earns you a 10 cent refund which you can choose to either have it credited to your Paypal account, receive a store voucher for instore redemption, receive a cash payment or donate to charity
  • Most drink containers between 150ml and 3 litres that are purchased in NSW will be eligible
  • To be eligible for a refund, the container materials must be made of:
    • Glass
    • Plastic
    • Aluminium
    • Steel
    • Or liquid paperboard (cartons).
  • There are currently more than 500 collection points and more than 800 reverse vending machines across the state
  • There are four different types of collection points: Reverse Vending Machines, Automatic Depots, Over the Counter Sites and Donation Stations. To search for a collection point, you can click here.

For more information on the Return and Earn scheme, you can visit their website.

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