Iceland’s trial of installing reverse vending machines at five branches has resulted in 311,500 bottles being recycled.
An average of 2,583 bottles were received and £250 in coupons refunded to customers per day in its Wolverhampton, Mold, Fulham and Musselburgh stores, alongside its head office in Deeside.
After its initial success, the trial is now being extended for a further six months which, Iceland said, will allow it to collect further data on the positive environmental impact of a potential national roll-out.
The initiative was launched in May 2018 in support of the government’s proposed deposit return scheme (DRS) in England, and the supermarket’s continued bid to reduce the impact of single-use plastics on the environment.
Reverse vending machines reward people for recycling by providing money or vouchers in return for their empty containers. Iceland’s machines accept any Iceland plastic beverage bottle and repays customers with a 10p voucher to be used in store for each bottle they recycle.
Its sustainability efforts have seen it become the first retailer globally to commit to removing plastic packaging from all own-brand products by 2023, and scrap 5p plastic carrier bags in all stores in favour of 10p bags for life.
“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 the reverse vending machine trials in our stores is one sign of this,” said Iceland managing director Richard Walker.
“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 initiatives, and Defra and across the industry to ensure nationwide roll-outs are comprehensive and effective in our goal of tackling single-use plastics.”
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