People around the world are waking up to the damage caused to the environment by packaging waste.
Here in the UK, TV programmes such as the BBC’s War on Plastic and David Attenborough’s Blue Planet highlighted the need for global action to prevent more avoidable damage.
Did you know that UK consumers go through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles, 9 billion drinks cans and 5 billion glass bottles in one year?
If we can encourage consumers to recycle single-use containers we can help to limit waste, protect the environment and contribute to a circular economy.
Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) provide that very solution. They allow used drinks containers such as single-use plastic bottles, glass bottles and cans to be collected, sorted and recycled.
RVMs are a way of life in Scandinavian countries. The recycling rates for PET plastic bottles were as high as 97% in Norway in 2018. It’s encouraging to see that RVMs are now making a real impact in the UK, increasing in numbers in supermarkets, shopping centres, universities, colleges and public spaces.
The use of these machines is voluntary, primarily taken up by an increasing number of environmentally-aware consumers. However the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is set to encourage and incentivise many more people to use them regularly.
The Scottish Government is introducing a DRS. From 1st July 2022 all drinks containers sold in Scotland will have a deposit of 20p on PET plastic bottles, glass bottles, and drink cans. Retailers will have to dispose of them responsibly. That’s where Reverse Vending Machines will provide an easy and efficient way to deal with returns and prepare them for collection and recycling.
The UK Government is in a consultation period about a DRS with the intention to introduce a similar scheme in England; Wales is already trialling a DRS, and Northern Ireland have indicated similar plans.
There is no doubt that reverse vending, supported by a good DRS, is a valuable part of the solution to the damage caused by plastic bottle and tin cans. Scotland’s leading independent vending solutions provider, Excel Vending recognised the problems and the reverse vending solution some four years ago. They invested in the technology in 2017, and they have championed reverse vending across Scotland. Regular public demonstrations for the last four years have helped raise public awareness.
Excel Director, John Macdonald commented: “Excel has worked hard over the past four years to ensure we are at the forefront of reverse vending. Reducing the number of plastic bottles and cans going to landfill is essential.
“RVM Systems, Sweden’s leading designer and manufacturer of RVMs appointed Excel Vending as the exclusive distributor for the vending sector.
“They have many years of experience, working in existing mandatory Deposit Return Systems in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia and many other countries.“ Together we are well placed to assist with the technology and infrastructure required to ensure the impending DRS in Scotland is a success.”