Community retailer Scotmid Co-operative have unveiled their first-ever reverse vending machine to encourage customers to recycle soft drink cans and plastic bottles with funds donated to leading environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.
Entitled ‘Recycle and Reward’, the eco-friendly scheme, already popular in many countries including Scandinavia and Germany, has been launched for a three-month period in Scotmid’s South Queensferry store – a World Heritage site and a coastal town.
The initiative is designed to help Scotmid gain learnings ahead of legislative changes while the Scottish Government completes the Consultation phase of the proposed Deposit Return Scheme designed to increase the level of plastic and aluminium recycling.
When customers return plastic and aluminium soft drink containers – purchased at the South Queensferry store – into the reverse vending machine, they can choose which reward they receive – either 10p per item off their shopping bill or by donating the sum to Keep Scotland Beautiful.
The aims of the initiative are in line with those of Scottish Government – to reduce litter, improve the quality and quantity of recycled materials and increase opportunities for the public to recycle.
Scotmid Chief Executive John Brodie said: “Scotmid are really excited about launching this progressive initiative in our South Queensferry store – it matches our core values and principles as an ethical community retailer.
“Reverse vending machines have helped to transform recycling habits in Norway, Denmark and Germany and we believe that can also happen here in Scotland.
“Reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in landfill and the decreasing the volume of litter found in Scotland’s streets, countryside and coastlines are the key objectives of not only the Scottish Government but all responsible retailers.
“We’re proud to have already forged a new partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful and we look forward to seeing the initiative help to achieve the objective of a beautiful Scotland.”
Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Scotmid on this exciting initiative.
“Litter is an increasing problem in Scotland and we believe people must change their behaviour and do the right thing with their cans and bottles.
“We hope it will help encourage people to make recycling part of their everyday activities, removing the opportunity for single-use items like plastic bottles to become litter on land and in water.
“80% of litter in our seas starts life on land, and this vending machine is a great opportunity to show people they can take action on a local level to help keep Scottish communities clean, green and sustainable.”
The reverse vending machine has been produced by TOMRA Collection – a leading partner for reverse vending solutions for collecting, reusing and recycling cans and bottles.
TOMRA UK MD Truls Haug said: “We’re delighted to bring our 40 years of knowledge and machine innovation to Scotmid Co-operative to support this exciting initiative in the beautiful town of South Queensferry.”
Image below (left to right): TOMRA Senior Account Manager Zak Miller, Scotmid Head of Format and Food Development Mike Gordon, Scotmid Chief Executive John Brodie, Keep Scotland Beautiful Chief Executive Derek Robertson, Scotmid store manager Graham Philip and Scotmid Deputy Secretary Shirley MacGillivray pictured outside the South Queensferry store to mark the launch of the Recycle and Reward initiative.