Cessnock tops the Hunter in Return and Earn

Cessnock has collected the Hunter's most containers in the NSW Government's Return and Earn scheme.

Since the Return and Earn system kicked off about 19 months ago, two billion drink containers have been collected across the state - it's currently averaging just over 4 million containers a day.

The Lower Hunter is playing its part in that.

Cessnock, with four collection points (including Kurri), had collected 26,312,910 containers by the end of last week.

Maitland, also with four collection points, had collected 22,641,731 containers.

Approximately half of all adults in NSW have used the scheme and it has fundamentally changed people's thinking and behaviour towards litter

Mark Gifford, EPA

"The Return and Earn scheme has been incredibly successful by any measure," Environment Protection Authority Acting CEO Mark Gifford said. "Approximately half of all adults in NSW have used the scheme and it has fundamentally changed people's thinking and behaviour towards litter.

"The design of the scheme has made it work.

"The incentive through the 10 cent refund, the easy to use nature of the reverse vending machines and the convenience - with more than 640 return points spread across NSW - have all played a role."

The scheme has helped NSW achieve a 57 per cent reduction in eligible drink container litter volume since Return and Earn started in 2017. The recent summer period was the busiest across the network to date, with the daily record set on January 28 when 6.8 million containers were returned in one day.

If you're having trouble getting you head around the 2 billion containers figure, consider this: it is the equivalent to eight trips around Australia, or 166 trips between Sydney and Melbourne.