BY BILL BRUCE
EDITOR, REFRESHMENT MAGAZINE
The plastics debate rages on and, as you will know if you read my views in the last issue of Refreshment magazine, I believe that more consumer education about recycling, plus greater investment in effective infrastructure, is essential if we can adopt a philosophy of ‘waste is only waste if you waste it’. So I am delighted by certain recent developments.
In the latest issue of Refreshment magazine, we have included a feature called ‘Towards a circular economy’, and two stories in our sustainability news section mention deposit return schemes (DRS) and the introduction of ‘reverse vending machines’ by two UK retailers – Iceland and the Co-operative.
These machines are by no means a new idea – and neither is the concept of returnable deposits for packaging – but in the UK they are nevertheless gaining a large amount of media attention, bringing the recycling debate and much-needed education closer to consumers.
Norway has had an efficient bottle recycling system, called ‘panteordning’, since 1972 and today manages to recycle more than 90% of plastic bottles.
England has been quite slow to make a decision, but after a decade of lobbying, Westminster pledged at the end of March that all drinks containers in England – whether plastic, glass or metal – will be covered by a deposit return scheme. There is a year of consultation ahead. Meanwhile, Scotland committed to a bottle deposit scheme last year. Similar schemes already operate in 38 countries, in ten US states, eight out of ten Canadian provinces, and Southern Australia.
What’s inside the latest issue of Refreshment?
For more like this, subscribe today.
Some of the statistics are impressive. For instance, Lithuania has managed to achieve a 93% return rate in just three years; and in Germany, where a DRS was introduced in 2003, 99% of plastic bottles are now recycled.
Reverse vending machines use proven technology and the vending industry has a role to play in advising the UK government during its year of consultation – reversing the trend of careless disposal of so-called ‘single-use’ plastics. We will be looking at the opportunities and technologies in a future issue of Refreshment magazine.
Meanwhile, I remain proud that Refreshment’s audience is leading by example and positively contributing to a progressively more sustainable future.
Get more from Refreshment magazine, the leading publication for the water cooler, vending machine and office coffee services industries. Click here to subscribe today.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018