Leading international reverse vending machine (RVM) manufacturer Envipco has teamed up with the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF), Viridor, and UK retail chains Nisa, Premier and Keystore to deliver RVM trials in three Scottish convenience stores.
The trials come ahead of the Scottish Government’s introduction of a deposit return scheme, which will reward the public with cash deposits for returning empty beverage containers for recycling. The scheme will aim to increase recycling rates and reduce littering, with countries that have introduced similar schemes – such as Sweden, Norway, and Germany – achieving high recycling rates and cleaner environments.
From mid-February through to April this year, customers at SGF member stores Nisa Local and Post Office in Bellshill, Premier Broadway in Oxgangs, Edinburgh and Keystore in Moredun, Edinburgh will receive 10p for every empty plastic bottle or can deposited into Envipco’s on-site Flex machines.
Recycling company Viridor will be supporting the trials through the collection and recycling of empty containers deposited into RVMs at the three stores.
Measuring just 60cm wide, Envipco’s Flex machine is the smallest footprint RVM with compaction technology on the global market, an important factor for small and medium-sized grocers for whom floor space is critical. The machine flattens empty bottles and cans, allowing for storage of up to 600 cans and 300 plastic bottles.
The trial will provide an opportunity for Envipco – a US-based company with R&D in Germany and RVMs operating globally – to ensure that its technology is fit-for-purpose in Scotland, particularly given the relatively high number of small and medium-sized grocery stores in the country. Bob Lincoln, President, Envipco, remarked:
“Envipco is very excited to be supporting the Scottish Grocers Federation stores’ trial of our reverse vending machines. We know the importance of convenience stores to the retail sector in Scotland.
Envipco will do all that we can to support grocers managing the implementation of the deposit return scheme, with the end goal of increasing recycling rates and reducing littering.”
In any deposit return scheme, the retail sector is impacted by the responsibility to receive, store and dispatch empty drinks containers and pay the deposit back to consumers. For SGF, the trade association for the convenience store sector, these trials are an important opportunity to both learn how the retail sector can adapt to the scheme and understand how their consumers will respond to the technology. Dr John Lee, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at SGF said:
“These trials will give us invaluable learning and insight into deposit return, particularly how shop staff and customers respond to having a RVM sited in-store.
This learning will ultimately help us develop and implement a system which is effective for retailers, consumers, and communities.”
The stores will involve their local community in the trial, and will give customers the option to support local fundraising campaigns instead of collecting their 10p deposit per container.
Abdul Majid, owner of Nisa Local Bellshill said:
“We are delighted to be one of the stores involved in this ground-breaking trial. The support we are receiving from Envipco and Viridor is making this possible. This will help local people to recycle, reduce litter and improve the local environment”
For Viridor, getting first-hand experience of the operations and logistics of a deposit return scheme is a key reason the waste management and recycling company is supporting the trial.
Viridor Local Authority Contracts Manager Hugh Booth said:
“We want it to become the norm that a bottle a customer buys is reprocessed and used to make a new bottle. This trial shows how important partnership is to making that happen – the whole chain working together – retailers, recyclers, manufacturers and back again.”
The trials are scheduled to run through April 2019.