Recycling group Veolia and UK-based restaurant chain Leon have teamed up to trial a deposit-return scheme in the UK.
Located in King’s Cross, London, the reverse vending machine pilot has been designed to target the disposable drinks containers most commonly discarded on the go – bottles up to 750ml and aluminium cans – making it easy for consumers to recycle, reduce littering and enable more materials to be salvaged.
The trial will initially run for six months, and consumers will receive a voucher for 10% off at the nearest Leon restaurant once they deposit a plastic bottle up to 750ml or an aluminium can.
Veolia estimates that Britain fails to recycle 40% of plastic bottles because they aren’t placed in the right bins, meaning that an estimated 240,000 go to landfill or enter the environment every year.
A formal UK-wide deposit-return scheme has been touted as a solution to this problem, and UK retailers including Iceland, Tesco and The Co-Op have launched reverse vending trials in the last year.
Consumers will receive a voucher for 10% off the nearest Leon restaurant once they deposit a plastic bottle an aluminium can
Richard Kirkman, chief technology and innovation officer, Veolia UK & Ireland said: “A UK-wide deposit-return scheme is imperative if we want to round up the millions of stray plastic bottles and cans we as a country are not recycling.
“This pilot Veolia is conducting with Leon is the yardstick for on the go recycling. Located in a high footfall area and targeting the drinks containers most commonly misplaced – plastic bottles up to 750ml and aluminium cans – the machine offers an alternative to carrying recyclable items home or discarding as litter.
“Our research shows people are motivated to recycle, they care about the environment and the vast majority are poised to use a machine like ours when a reasonable walk away.
“Veolia will collect and process the machine’s contents, ultimately transporting the bottles and cans to be recycled into new products. We hope as the pilot unfolds, it proves the importance of recycling on the go as well as the need for appropriate infrastructure to facilitate it.”
John Vincent, CEO & Co-Founder of Leon, said: “At Leon we’ve been committed to being the most sustainable business we can be since we opened our first restaurant in 2004.
“Through our Planet LOVe programme launched in 2019, we will carry on investing in new ways to reduce single-use plastics and find better recycling solutions because, put simply, the planet needs us to.
“We’re really excited about this partnership with Veolia because we know that, as an industry, we need to push for the right facilities and infrastructure to ensure better recycling and reuse – this is a great step forward.
“And we can’t wait to welcome all the recycling warriors into our restaurants and reward their efforts with a little thank you from us.”
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