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Iceland's reverse vending machine trial leads to 310,000 bottles being recycled

Iceland has reported that its trial of in-store reverse vending machines has resulted in the recycling of more than 310,000 bottles. 

FOOD & DRINK

Iceland's reverse vending machine trial leads to 310,000 bottles being recycled

Iceland has reported that its trial of in-store reverse vending machines has resulted in the recycling of more than 310,000 bottles. 

The trial was run across four sites in England, Scotland and Wales with machines installed in shops in Wolverhampton, Mold, Fulham and Musselburgh. There was also a machine for staff use at the retailer’s head office in Deeside.

The retailer said November saw a daily average of 2,583 bottles being recycled across the five sites, with an average of £250 in coupons refunded per day.
 
Reverse vending machines reward people for recycling by giving them money or vouchers in return for empty containers. Iceland’s reverse vending machine accepts any Iceland plastic beverage bottle and repays customers with a 10p voucher to be used in-store for each bottle recycled.

In addition to installing the machines, Iceland conducted 40 interviews at the trial stores to understand consumers' perceptions and their appetite for the Government’s proposed Deposit Return Scheme. Monetary rewards, environmental consciousness, additional recycling potential and assured recycling were all found to be key factors influencing their use of the machines.
 
Richard Walker, managing director at Iceland, said: “We’ve gained hugely valuable insights into both consumer interest and the functionality of the schemes, and it’s clear from the results that consumers want to tackle the problem of plastic head on, and would be in support of a nationwide scheme. We’ll be using these findings to inform future Iceland initiatives, and will be sharing our findings with DEFRA and across the industry to ensure any nationwide roll-outs are comprehensive and effective in our goal of tackling the issue of single-use plastics.”

Iceland is extending the trial for a further six months ito enable it to collect further data on the environmental impact of a potential national roll-out.

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