• Business from biodiversity brainstorm
    Cessnock City Council is calling on local businesses to take part in a brainstorming workshop to discuss how Cessnock’s biodiversity can be used to market our area and broaden activities available to visitors.
    Read More

What's On


Return and Earn is a NSW Government litter reduction scheme that will provides 10 cent refunds on eligible drink containers at approved collection points. Drink containers make up almost half of the volume of litter in NSW and Return and Earn is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to reducing litter volume in NSW by 40 per cent by 2020.

To find a return point near you go to the Return and Earn website.


What containers are eligible?

Most empty 150-millilitre to three litre beverage containers will be eligible for a 10 cent refund when presented to an approved NSW collection point. There are some exceptions, and containers not eligible for a refund are described in the section below. 

Scheme exceptions

Containers that are not included in the scheme and, therefore, do not qualify for a refund are:

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

These drinks are predominantly consumed at home and are not found in the litter stream. They are also broadly similar to the exceptions in the South Australian and Northern Territory container deposit schemes, to aid consistency.


According to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the single most common litter item in Australia is the cigarette butt. Cigarette butts make up half of the litter in NSW.

Other common litter includes small pieces of paper, chip and confectionery wrappers, fast-food packaging, bottle caps, glass pieces, glass alcohol bottles, plastic straws and soft drink bottles (both plastic and metal).

Littering is an offence.

You can be fined if you commit a littering offence.For further information the  EPA has a comprehensive website about littering including information about littering laws and regulations, as well as advice on what you can do to prevent littering. 

Report littering in Cessnock

If you see litter being discarded or blown from a vehicle you can report this to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) either:

  • by phoning 131 555 
  • through the EPA website or
  • through a mobile app, which, once downloaded, will take you to the reporting portal. (Note: Reporters  must be aged 18 or over and will have to register their personal details, agree to terms and conditions, and declare understanding of the responsibilities.)

You will need to record details such as the vehicle registration, location, type of litter, date and time. When doing so make sure you do not compromise your safety. By reporting littering from motor vehicles, you can help raise awareness, reduce clean-up costs and keep NSW clean.

Reports are required to be made within 14 days of the incident. Fines for littering from a vehicle range from $250 for an individual, $500 for a corporation, to $900 for aggravated littering such as lit cigarette butts during extreme conditions. For more information, visit the EPA website.

Adopt-a-Road Program

The Cessnock Adopt-a-Road program commenced in 1996 and has grown till it now includes 10 sponsors covering 26.3kms of roadside. The program is both an educational and practical environmental initiative which increases community awareness of the damaging effect roadside litter has on the local environment and civic image.

Roadside adoption involves communities taking a special interest in maintaining the appearance of roadsides in their community through the regular removal of roadside litter.  Local companies and community groups are encouraged to ‘adopt’ sections of roadside and pledge to keep the roadside clean for a nominated period of time.  Large signs are erected to acknowledge the efforts of ‘adopters’ and to remind others that littering is not an acceptable practice.

The program is ultimately designed to increase roadside litter collection on main roads into the City of Cessnock with the benefit being a cleaner environment and public acknowledgement of litter control in the city.

To be involved in the program please e-mail .