Return and Earn

Byron Shire’s first Return and Earn vending machine is up and running. All eligible drink containers dropped off at this site will receive a 10 cent refund.

Opening hours of the reverse vending machine:

7.30am – 10.00pm  7 days a week

If there are issues with the reverse vending machine at anytime please contact TOMRA-Cleanaway Hotline on 1800 290 691 or email your enquiry to

*Please note there is pedestrian access only at the Cavanbah Centre Return and Earn site from 7 am - 11 am on Thursdays due to the Farmers Market relocation. 

Check out the Return and Earn website for more about the scheme

The NSW Governments container deposit scheme has been introduced to reduce drink container litter and will benefit our environment and community.

Anyone who returns an eligible drink container to an approved collection point will receive a 10 cent refund.  The goal is to reduce litter in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020. 

Return and Earn is a great way for schools, charities and community groups to fundraise for special projects while learning about the importance of reducing litter and recycling right.

Over the next 20 years the scheme is expected to result in:

  • 1.6 billion fewer beverage containers littered
  • almost 1 billion fewer beverage containers in landfill
  • 12.6 billion more beverage containers being recycled



The scheme coordinator, Exchange for Change, will oversee the Return and Earn Scheme and the financial and reporting manager.

The network operator, Tomra Cleanaway will be responsible for establishing and managing collection points and collection infrastructure across NSW. 

Most empty drink containers between 150 millilitres and 3 litres that are purchased in NSW may be eligible for a 10 cent refund. There are some exceptions, and containers not eligible for a refund are listed in the section below.

Container materials that may be eligible for a refund include:

  • Plastic
  • Steel and aluminium
  • Glass
  • Liquid paperboard

Containers should be empty, uncrushed, unbroken and have the original label in tact. 


Containers that are not included in the scheme and do not qualify for a refund are:
  • Plain milk (or milk substitute containers) 
  • Flavoured milk containers of 1L or more
  • Pure fruit and vegetable juice containers of one litre or more
  • Glass containers for wine and spirits
  • Casks for wine & casks for water of 1L or more
  • Sachets for wine of 250ml or more
  • Containers for cordial
  • Registered health tonics

 These containers should be placed in your yellow recycling bin.


A reverse vending machine is the opposite of a drink dispensing machine. You can place your empty eligible drink container into the machine, and the container will be scanned to verify it is eligible. You can then choose your preferred refund option on the electronic screen.

The machines are designed not to hold cash for safety reasons. 


When you return eligible containers at an reverse vending machin, you will have 3 options to obtain your refund:

  1. Receive a voucher to be redeemed for cash or an in-store credit at a participating retail partner (such as a Woolworths)
  2. Register to receive a direct payment to your designated bank account via PayPal (Download the myTOMRA app and create a TOMRA profile.)
  3. Donate the refund to charities and community groups linked to the reverse vending machines


If you have more than 100 containers, for quicker processing you can take them to the Lismore recovery and recycling facility at 313 Wyrallah Road, East Lismore.  You can still go through the vending machine at the Cavanbah Centre, 249 Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay, but we suggest if you do have large volumes to consider taking them to the larger Lismore facility.


Yes. Return and Earn has been designed to compliment the kerbside recycling system.


The Return and Earn vending machine at the Cav will be closed to vehicle access from 7 - 11 am during the Farmers Markets on Thursday mornings.

Pedestrian access only during these hours. Normal operating hours at all other times.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.