Return and Earn Container Deposit Scheme has a Slow Start in Lane Cove

Lane Cove residents are keen to be involved in the NSW container deposit scheme called Return and Earn.  The Scheme commenced on 1 December 2017.  You will earn 10 cents for each eligible container you return.

The Lane Cove Sustainability Action Group was one of the driving forces behind the introduction of the scheme.  Does anyone remember the Van parked near Dymocks Lane Cove with the giant Coke Bottle on top?

How Do You Get Involved in Return and Earn?

ITC has been inundated with requests from residents asking how they can get involved and where they can return their containers.  It’s fair to say the Return and Earn scheme has not had a smooth start.  There are very few places where you can return the containers in Lane Cove.  Forget about loading up your car boot with containers and heading on over to a depot.

The slow implementation has been criticized by none other than Ian Kiernan – the founder of Clean Up Australia Day.  In an op-ed piece in the Guardian he wrote:

Key to the success of the NSW “return and earn” scheme is access. Which is where my impatience kicks in. We are currently running behind the promised schedule for consumers to be able to redeem the deposits that retailers have the legal right to charge …”

The NSW Deputy Premier told ABC online he is asking the community to be patient and admitted the scheme was running behind schedule. He told ABC Online:

“Have we rolled out the scheme in a way that has been seamless? No. The answer is no, it hasn’t been as perfect as we’d hoped it to be”.

The Scheme is in beta testing and the State government is considering it a rollout.

Where Do You Go To Collect A Refund?

There are three ways to collect a refund.  You can use a reverse vending machine, over the counter collection point or a container depot.

In Lane Cove there are only three places to return your containers:

About Life Lane Cove
62 Burns Bay Rd Lane Cove, NSW, 2066
Type of collection point: Over-the-counter Collection Point – 10 cents off purchases.

Village Convenience
Shop 1, 150 Epping Road Lane Cove, NSW, 2066
Type of collection point: Over-the-Counter Collection point

Café 652
652 Mowbray Rd North, NSW, 2066
Type of collection point: Over-the-Counter Collection point

Woolworths has partnered with the scheme operators to install reverse vending machines across Australia.  Woolworths Lane Cove does NOT have a reverse vending machine.

Which Containers Can Be Returned?

Under Return and Earn, most empty 150-millilitre to 3-litre drink containers will be eligible for a 10-cent refund when presented to an approved NSW collection point. Container materials that may be eligible for a refund include

  • PET;
  • HDPE;
  • Glass;
  • Aluminium;
  • Steel; or
  • liquid paperboard.

Containers must be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and have the original label attached.

Which Containers Can’t You Return?

Do not return:

  • plain milk or milk substitute containers;
  • flavoured milk containers of 1 litre or more;
  • pure fruit or vegetable juice containers of 1 litre or more;
  • glass containers for wine and spirits (oh dear);
  • casks (plastic bladders in boxes) for wine and casks for water of 1 litre or more;
  • sachets for wine of 250 millilitres or more;
  • containers for cordials, or concentrated fruit and vegetable juices; and
  • registered health tonics.

Will There Still Be Kerbside Recycling?

All councils will be entering into agreements with the Return and Earn operators.  If you choose not to return your eligible containers and to continue to recycle them in your kerbside bins, you are making a donation to the Lane Cove Council.  Councils are under no obligation to refund money to ratepayers via a rates reduction.   Let’s hope Lane Cove Council returns the money to ratepayers via more community grants, sporting fields upgrades and upgrades to parks and playgrounds.  It would be good to see a direct correlation between the amount the council receives and benefits to the community.

ITC will keep you up to date and will advise you when there are more collection points in Lane Cove.

Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at

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