Scotland pilots reverse vending machines

Return & Recycle Orkney officially launched on Friday, November 4 and will see citizens place their drinks containers in two reverse vending machines for recycling. 

The machines will generate a 5p donation to charity for every bottle or can returned.

Delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, Return & Recycle Orkney will run until Scotland’s nationwide deposit return scheme goes live in August next year.

cotland will be the first UK nation to introduce a deposit return scheme when it goes live in August 2023. It will see customers pay a small deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use container and then get the deposit back when they return the empty bottle or can.

In a significant step in Scotland’s deposit return journey, a recycling scheme that includes several elements of deposit return is now available on Orkney.

Although consumers will not pay a deposit on drinks containers under Return & Recycle Orkney, the initiative will provide valuable insights to help shape the way Scotland’s deposit return scheme is rolled out to rural and island communities in Scotland. It will also give islanders the chance to try out using the machines that will be used in the deposit return scheme in advance of the 2023 launch.

Both schemes have huge potential to drive up recycling quality and quantity, as well as reducing litter by attaching a value to items often considered ‘waste’.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater, who officially launched Return & Recycle Orkney today, said: “This is a fantastic project that will make it easy for people in Orkney to recycle their empty drinks bottles and cans. 

“Better recycling facilities will help keep litter off our streets and green spaces, while reducing the needless waste and emissions that are driving the climate crisis.

“I look forward to seeing these benefits experienced in communities all across the country next year when Scotland’s deposit return scheme goes live.”

Jill Farrell, Director of Evidence and Insights at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Return & Recycle Orkney is a great opportunity for islanders to do their bit for their environment and raise funds for local causes at the same time.

“Initiatives like this have real potential to transform our behaviour towards single-use materials, which is a must if we’re serious about tackling the climate emergency.

“It is fantastic to see Return & Recycle Orkney go live. It is a significant milestone and I look forward to the valuable insights it will provide.”

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