Return and Earn Scheme Reaches 11 Billion Containers Returned

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As NSW celebrates the major new Return and Earn milestone of 11 billion containers recycled, Cessnock City and Lake Macquarie locals have millions of reasons to join in the celebrations, having recycled an incredible 503,359,231 bottles, cans and cartons through their local return points.

Thanks to the incredible support of the Cessnock City and Lake Macquarie communities, visiting the local return point has become a way of life, resulting in millions of dollars in container refunds back into people’s pockets.

Charities and local community groups and schools are also benefitting from the scheme, with a massive $54 million raised state-wide for charities and community groups via donated refunds and return point hosting fees.

The refunds from container recycling are helping families and individuals with cost-of-living pressures and helping support the work of hundreds of charities and community groups that are using the scheme to fundraise.

Across the two Local Government Areas of Cessnock City and Lake Macquarie, the collective recycling efforts are making a difference. The positive impact of recycling containers into new containers rather than using virgin materials is equivalent to:

  • Energy savings equal to the average annual use of 1,445 households in Cessnock City and 3,805 households in Lake Macquarie.
  • CO2 emissions avoided equal to taking 22,426 cars off the road for a year.
  • Water savings that could fill 1,183 Olympic swimming pools.

With all plastic and glass drink containers collected through the network recycled in Australia, Return and Earn has become a leading contributor to our growing domestic circular economy.

For more information about Return and Earn or to find your nearest return point visit

Member for Cessnock, Mr Clayton Barr said:

“Congratulations to residents across the Electorate of Cessnock for making Return and Earn part of your regular routine. Your enthusiastic participation is playing an important role in growing our domestic circular economy and achieving a more sustainable future.

“Recycling your eligible bottles, cartons and cans through Return and Earn is an easy way for all of us to help the environment and support the work of some amazing local charities.”

Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Penny Sharpe:

“In six short years, Return and Earn has become a shining example of what’s possible when we all work together to recycle our valuable container resources to make NSW a better place.

“Return and Earn delivers so many environmental, social and economic benefits, from putting money back into people’s pockets, to supporting the vital work of charities, and providing a clean and reliable stream of recycled materials for manufacturing.”