Sainsbury’s has made a number of new sustainability commitments, as the retailer has launched a reverse vending machine trial at its Lincoln store and has announced plans to install water refilling stations at 326 of its UK stores.
The reverse vending machines enable customers to return plastic bottles up to 3 litres in size, as well as aluminium drinks cans in exchange for 5p coupons per deposited item.
According to Sainsbury’s up to 500 items can be deposited per customer, which means customers could earn up to £25 in vouchers. The retailer claims that the launch of the reverse vending trial aims to increase plastic recycling rates by adding an extra incentive to recycle.
Reverse vending machines are present in many countries which operate formal deposit return schemes, and typically, countries with these schemes in place achieve recycling rates of approximately 80-95%, compared with an estimated 59% in the UK.
Sainsbury’s decision to implement the trial follows on from the introduction of a similar trial by fellow UK retailer Iceland last year, which saw over 310,000 bottles recycled over the first six months of the trial.
Additionally, the supermarket has also announced that it will begin to offer water refilling stations in 326 supermarket cafes across the country from August, allowing customers to refill reusable water bottles.
Sainsbury’s claims that this move will “reduce the reliance on single-use plastic water bottles.”
Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe said: “Our customers want to use less plastic so I am determined that Sainsbury’s continues to find ways to help them do that.
“Allowing customers to refill their own water bottles and re-use food containers is further evidence of our commitment to reduce unnecessary plastic waste.”
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