Convenient recycling option arrives in NSW with opening of new Return and Earn machine

Return and Earn machine. Image credit: Exchange for Change

Ballina residents now have an easily accessible location to recycle their eligible bottles and cans, as a new Return and Earn machine debuts at Ballina Central Shopping Centre.

Exchange For Change, the coordinator of the container deposit schemes within New South Wales, said this marks the second return point in Ballina Shire, enhancing the convenience for locals to redeem their eligible containers and earn a 10-cent refund.

James Dorney, CEO of TOMRA Cleanaway, the network operator for the scheme, commended Ballina Shire residents for their impressive recycling efforts, surpassing 46 million returned bottles, cans, and cartons since the inception of the scheme.

“The convenience of having this new machine at Ballina Central means it’s never been easier to make ‘returning and earning’ part of your weekly routine,” Dorney noted.

Users of the new machine can choose to print a voucher for the refund amount, redeemable for cash at Coles supermarket.

Alternatively, they can utilise the Return and Earn app to opt for an e-voucher or direct payment into their bank account or PayPal.

Local recyclers also have the option to donate their refund to a charity partner listed on the machine or one of the numerous charities available on the Return and Earn app.

Currently, Ballina-on-Richmond Rotary is featured as the local donation partner on the Ballina machine, with funds raised supporting their vital community work.

Return and Earn has emerged as a significant fundraising channel for various charities and community groups across NSW, generating over $47 million since its launch in 2017.

With more than 10.7 billion containers returned for recycling through the network of around 616 return points across the state, the scheme has contributed over $1.07 billion in refunds back to the public.

James Dorney encourages everyone to participate in the Return and Earn initiative, emphasising the collective effort towards a more sustainable future where materials are kept in the loop, reducing landfill and litter.

The newly opened Ballina Return and Earn machine, located at Ballina Central Shopping Centre (44 Bangalow Rd, Ballina), operates from 7 am to 7 pm daily.

For additional information on Return and Earn, visit