Where can I return my container?

Do you have eligible drinks containers – bottles, cans or cartons – you’d like to return? Bring them to one of our convenient return points such as a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM), an Over the Counter Site (OTC),  Automated Depot (AD) or a Donation Station.


Reverse Vending Machines

There are many reverse vending machines across NSW. The self-service machines provide a great way to return smaller quantities of containers, up to 500 in any one transaction.

At a machine, you have several options for receiving your refund:

  1. Receive your refund directly into your registered PayPal account via the myTOMRA app.  You can then use your refund for future PayPal purchases or transfer it to your bank account.
  2. Receive a retail voucher to spend or swap for cash at participating retailer.
  3. Donate directly to a selected charity.

Tips when using a Reverse Vending Machine

Before you leave home
  • Store your eligible containers in a large reusable bag or container. You can find more about eligible containers by using our eligibility tool.
  • Empty all liquids from eligible containers. It is preferable to dispose of loose bottle lids.
  • Separate your plastic and glass containers to help save time at the machine.
  • Set aside ineligible containers and boxes for kerbside recycling at home.
Find your preferred RVM
  • You can locate your nearest or preferred return point here.
  • If you wish to redeem electronically at the machine, download and sign up to the myTOMRA App, and connect your PayPal account.
  • You can also locate your closest machine using this website or myTOMRA App and check its live status.
At the RVM
  • Return your plastic containers into the plastic chute and glass containers into the glass chute.
  • Remember to take your reusable bag with you and place any litter into the bin.

Reverse Vending Centre (RVC)

Reverse Vending Centres are self service locations with six machines that you feed your containers into. Return your plastic bottles, cans & cartons into one of the four lightweight machines available and your glass containers into one of the two glass machines available. The machine will then read the container barcode and either accept or reject the container based on its eligibility.

Tips to make your visit simple and easy

Before you arrive:

  • Store your eligible containers in a large reusable bag or container. You can find more about eligible containers by using our eligibility tool.
  • Empty all liquids from eligible containers.
  • Separate your plastic and glass containers to help save time at the RVC.
  • Set aside ineligible containers and boxes for kerbside recycling at home.
  • Find your preferred reverse vending machine by checking our website for opening hours.

At the RVC site:

  • Have your sorted and eligible containers ready to go.
  • Please consider other site customers by returning your containers in an orderly manner.
  • Please keep your RVC site clean and tidy.
  • Remember to take your reusable bag or ineligible containers home with you for kerbside recycling.

Automated Depot

Automated Depots are our staffed bulk container return centres. Depots can process any number of containers but is the best type of return point for returning larger volumes, 500+. Automated Depots issue cash refunds and some will provide an electronic transfer and donation option.


Over the Counter site

These are local businesses, such as corner stores and newsagencies, participating in Return and Earn. OTCs accept small quantities (usually less than 100) of eligible containers over the counter in return for a cash refund.


Donation Station

A Donation Station is an machine that has only the donation feature available. Donation Stations do not give the option to receive a refund.  Generally located at Service NSW offices, you will have the option to donate to a state-wide charity or local community group.

Become a return point partner

If you’re interested in hosting a reverse vending machine, automated depot or becoming an OTC partner you can find more information here.

Return Points

  • What is a return point?

    A return point is a collection place where you can return your eligible containers.

    There are four types of return points: Reverse Vending Machine (including centres), Automated Depot, an Over the Counter site or a Donation Station. You can find detailed information about each of these return points.

  • How many return points are there across NSW?

    In October 2020, there are 600+ return points across NSW. Return and Earn is always looking to identify opportunities for more locations to return eligible containers. Keep an eye on the website counter for the latest number of return points.

  • Where do I take the drink containers once we’ve collected them?

    There are several different return point types – Reverse Vending Machines and Reverse Vending Centres, Automated Depots, Over the Counter sites and Donation Stations.

    Search on this website for the closest return point convenient to you.

  • What are the different return point types?

    There are four main types of return points where you can Return and Earn.

    Return and Earn reverse vending machines (RVMs) are conveniently-located self-service return points. You will find them near supermarkets at over 320 locations across NSW. The machines accept up to 500 containers at a time. Reverse Vending Centres are also offered at certain locations.

    If you have over 500 containers to return, we suggest you visit an Automated Depot (AD). Automated Depots are staffed recycling centres that use automated counting machines to sort and count bulk loads of drink containers. There’s no need to separate glass from other containers and you can get immediate cash or electronic refund.

    Over The Counter (OTC) return points are located at shops in your community. Once you hand over your containers, the staff will count them for you and provide a cash refund. Generally, OTCs accept 100 containers per visit.

    Donation Stations (DS) are self service return points for donations only. They are ideal for on-the-go returns.

    Find your closest return point on this website

  • How can I request a Return Point?

    Our network operator TOMRA Cleanaway looks at installing new return points in areas of need. You can contact them via customerservice@tcnsw.com.au or call 1800 290 691.

Reverse Vending Machines

  • What is a Reverse Vending Machine?

    A Reverse Vending Machine is the opposite of a drink dispensing machine.

    You place an empty eligible drink container into the Reverse Vending Machine, the container is scanned to verify it is eligible and then you either:

    • Receive a retail voucher which can be spent instore or be exchanged for cash at a participating retailer such as Woolworths, Coles or IGA
    • Receive an e-voucher or an electronic refund to your registered PayPal account via the myTOMRA app. For more information about receiving electronic refunds, visit the MyTOMRA website
    • Donate your refund to a charity, school, sports club or community group featured on the Reverse Vending Machine.

    There are no cash refunds. The Reverse Vending Machines do not hold cash.

  • Can I find out if a Reverse Vending Machine is open or full before I visit the site?

    Yes, search on the website for the Reverse Vending Machine you’re interested in and all the details on its current status – whether it’s available, full or nearly full – will be shown.

    You can also download the myTOMRA app from Google Play or iTunes App Stores to see live, how full a machine is to help you plan your trip. More information and links to download the myTOMRA app can be found here.

  • How can I see if the machine is available and open?

    In the return points search bar, you can type in the name or postcode of your town or area and click on the particular return point you would like to
    visit. A pop-up window will appear on the return points map. Click on ‘More info‘.

     

    Once you open the return point page, it will have the name and the opening hours of the return point at the top of the page. Immediately below that is a bar. This bar will be green (Available), orange (Nearly full) or red (Full and not available for returns at that time). This will let you know the status for glass returns, then the message will change to advise the state for plastic, cans and cartons. This status will let you know if the machine is open, near to or at capacity.

  • The return point is filthy.

    Our Network Operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, regularly services over 600 return points across the state. Report an unclean return point by emailing customerservice@tcnsw.com.au or calling TOMRA Cleanaway on 1800 290 691.

  • What are you doing to stop people leaving their rubbish at the return points?

    The scheme was established to reduce litter and encourage the recycling of drink containers, so we don’t like to see rubbish at our return points.

    Our Network Operator, TOMRA Cleanaway, regularly services over 600 return points across the state.
    The team at Return and Earn regularly put out communications on container eligibility and the importance of using a reusable tub or basket to collect and carry containers to keep the sites clean and tidy.

    Whilst it does take a while to educate participants on the best way to return, we’re already seeing the adoption of positive behaviours.

    Report an unclean return point by emailing customerservice@tcnsw.com.au or calling TOMRA Cleanaway on 1800 290 691.