Our reverse vending machine on campus

COVID-19 Update: Our RVM is still accessible, and we ask that you follow NSW Health regulations. 

UNSW gets behind Return & Earn

UNSW Sydney was the first educational institution in NSW to operate a reverse vending machine for refunds on recycled bottles and cans under the NSW Government's new Container Deposit Scheme in 2018. We have now returned almost 21 million containers (May 2022), which is a huge achievement for the UNSW community. 

You can take part in the Return & Earn scheme too. Recycle drink containers and earn 10 cents for every eligible bottle or can.

You can find our Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) near the Old Main Building entrance, next to Physics Lawn. Locate the RVM on our Sustainability Map here. Let’s reduce litter in NSW! 

Recycling water bottles

Good to go: most drink bottles and cans 

These containers are most commonly found as litter in NSW. They’re often consumed ‘on the go.’

  • Cans (e.g. soft drinks)
  • Bottles ( e.g. beer bottles)
  • Cartons
  • Juice boxes or poppers

Most containers between 150ml and 3 litres are accepted and can get you a refund. However, they must…

  • Be in good condition (not be crushed or broken)
  • Be empty
  • Have the label attached

No go: items that are not refundable

These items aren’t accepted, but can still go into household recycling. They’re often used at home.

  • Milk containers
  • Glass wine bottles
  • Glass spirit bottles
  • Juice bottles over 1 litre
  • Cordial bottles

Reverse Vending Machines are self service machines that you feed your containers into. You’ll need to individually return your plastic containers into the plastic chute and glass containers into the glass chute. The machine will then read the container barcode and either accept or reject the container based on its eligibility

The machine accepts containers via two different return chutes:

  • One for glass only
  • And the other for plastics & cans

It also accepts up to 500 containers in any one transaction.

  • Vouchers which can be redeemed for goods or cash at participating retailers
  • Electronic funds transfer via the MyTomra app and PayPal
  • Charity donations

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 RVM.
  • 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 RVM site:

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