UK retailer Iceland has announced that over 1 million plastic bottles have been recycled through reverse vending machines at its stores since it launched a trial of the machines in May 2018.
Iceland became the first UK supermarket to install in-store reverse vending machines, following suggestions that the UK government was considering the introduction of a deposit return scheme in England to increase recycling rates and reduce plastic waste levels.
During the trial period, Iceland carried out a survey with customers about their motivations for using the machines. According to the study, the main motivation using the reverse
vending machines was environmental concerns, with (67%) choosing this option above any others.
Meanwhile, 96% of shoppers surveyed believing the scheme should be extended to all retailers, with Iceland claiming that this highlights ‘widespread consumer support’ for the idea of a deposit return scheme.
The bottle return data and customer insight were taken from five stores that had installed reverse vending machines over the last year: Fulham, Mold, Musselburgh, Wolverhampton and Belfast.
Richard Walker, managing director at Iceland, said: “The results from our reverse vending machine trials highlight the growing demand from consumers to have a deposit return scheme introduced across the UK.
“Iceland was the first retailer to trial reverse vending machines and we believe the customer feedback we have received shows that our simple model of accepting all sizes of plastic drinks bottle – and extending this to include drinks cans – is the only sensible way to roll out a deposit return scheme nationally.
“We have more than 950 stores across the UK and with the support of the government we could fit a reverse vending machine in every one of our stores.
“With over 1 million bottles returned to just five of our stores, the positive environmental impact of having machines across the UK would be phenomenal.”
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