On the go recycling trial

SCOTLAND IS SET to run a new trial to encourage more people to recycle on-the-go through ‘reverse vending’.



The concept, which involves people being given cash or discounts when they recycle in the street, has proved successful in many other parts of the world including Germany, Scandinavia and South Australia.


Zero Waste Scotland is now looking to promote the idea with £900,000 of funding. The systems will reward people for recycling through a range of incentives such as money back, discount vouchers or loyalty points.


From Monday, retailers, high streets and shopping centres, schools, and events venues will be able to bid for funding to run a deposit return or reverse vending recycling pilot.  The funding will focus on projects in contexts where traditional recycling systems are less effective.


Zero Waste Scotland estimates that around 22,000 tonnes of plastic (PET) drinks bottles currently go to landfill in Scotland annually – material which, if it was recycled, could be worth around £6 million a year to the economy at current market prices.


Last year The Scottish Government made an election manifesto commitment to pilot deposit return and reverse vending systems for single use plastic, glass, and aluminium containers in Scotland. Environment Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“A lot of us remember taking our empty glass bottles back to the shop for money. I remember when I was growing up running to our local shop with my glass bottle to get my money back. Now with the help of modern technology, this approach can also be used to recycle the valuable plastic bottles and metal cans we currently send to landfill.”


Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, added:


“Current recycling systems including household collections and public recycling points already play an important role.  But large amounts of valuable materials like plastic bottles and drinks cans still end up in landfill and alternative recycling methods could help us harness this lost value.”