Supermarket vouchers to recycle plastic bottles
Customers are being encouraged to recycle their plastic bottles and cans with a number of innovative ideas this summer.
Morrisons has installed its first reverse vending machines which will give shoppers a 10p voucher off their shopping, or a donation to charity, for every bottle or drinks can they insert.
Iceland has put similar machines in some of its stores, including its Food Warehouse store in Wolverhampton, but they will accept only bottles bought from them.
And the Co-op will exchange returned plastic bottles for store vouchers to spend at their pop-up stores at the Reading and Leeds music festivals in August.
“These are very welcome moves,” said green energy expert Ron Fox. “With our recycling record so poor compared with many other European countries, this will have a big impact on reducing cans and bottles dumped in landfill sites and turning back the tide of plastic dumped in our seas.”
According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans could weigh more than the entire fish population by 2050.
Certain Morrisons stores in Skipton, North Yorkshire, and East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, will accept a maximum of 20 bottles or cans of any brand, apart from milk bottles which are made from a different type of plastic, per person per day.
If the scheme is successful it will go nationwide next year in both Morrisons and Co-op stores.
Earlier this year the environment secretary, Michael Gove, promised to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and a working party was set up to look into the problem. But the Government has yet to announce any details of how it will work or when it will be introduced.
At present Germany recycles 98 per cent of cans and plastic bottles, Norway 96 per cent, The Netherlands 95 per cent, Lithuania 93 per cent, Finland 92 per cent while the UK, which doesn’t have a deposit scheme, reuses only 57 per cent of its 13 billion plastic bottles.
However, the British plastics industry claims that the rate for drinks bottles is higher at 74 per cent.
In some European countries reverse vending machines in shops are used to collect bottles and return the deposit.
The plan is that the deposit should be 10p to 20p on top of the price of the drink which could push, for example, some litre bottles of water up from about 85p to more than £1.
But Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park, said the Government needed to ensure companies did not dodge the system as has happened in Europe.
When Germany introduced a deposit on bottles up to three litres some companies responded by introducing a 3.1 litre bottle. In the Netherlands when a scheme was brought in for bottles with a minimum of 0.5 litres some manufacturers switched to 0.499 litre bottles.
For more green energy advice contact Ron on 0845 474 6641 or go to www.noreus.co.uk