Bottle deposit scheme – Consumers at leading frozen food chain, Iceland, have received the equivalent of more than £30,000 for recycling plastic bottles in the first retailers to trial “reverse vending machines” to reduce littering and increase recycling of single-use plastic drinks containers. The machines were introduced last year by the supermarket at five of its UK sites, where shoppers were rewarded with a voucher worth 10p for every deposit of a bottle purchased at the shops.
Bottle deposit scheme – UK consumers go through an estimated 13 billion plastic drinks bottles a year, but more than three billion are incinerated, sent to landfill or left to litter our streets and pollute our countryside and marine environment. To help tackle the issue, the Government announced in March 2018 that it will introduce a deposit return scheme in England for single use drinks containers (whether plastic, glass or metal), subject to consultation. The consultation is looking at the details of how such a scheme would work, alongside other measures to increase recycling rates.
The proposed scheme will see customers in England pay more for drinks in the shops. Customers will then be able to claim the money back if they return their drinks containers to be recycled.
Research by the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee found countries with deposit return schemes tended to recycle between 80% and 95% of their plastic bottles.
In Norway, 95% of all plastic bottles are now recycled, compared with England at the moment where the rate is 57%. About half of all the plastic bottles used in a year in England are water bottles.
Iceland was the first UK supermarket to install ‘reverse’ vending machines in support of the Government’s proposed deposit return scheme in England – which expects retailers to be responsible for properly recycling the containers – and in line with its own efforts to reduce the impact of single-use plastics on the environment.
Richard Walker, Iceland’s Managing Director, said:
“Iceland has continually led the way in the fight against the scourge of plastic since making our announcement to eliminate plastic from our own-label product packaging.
“The launch of reverse vending machine trials in our stores is one sign of this. 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.”