Every December, we publish a blog that highlights the significant things that have happened in the business throughout the year. It always finishes by wishing all of our customers a Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous year ahead. Little did we know then about how 2020 would unfold.
Indeed, our first post of 2020 was much more relevant than we knew at the time. On the 1st February, we announced our support for Time to Change and our work with our friends at PG Tips to promote Time to Talk Day. Time to Change is a growing social movement working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems.
Little did we know back in February how much mental health and staff wellbeing were going to feature in the conversations of every business throughout 2020. It was an acute problem before the pandemic when remote working was something to strive for in the future, and ‘furlough’ was a word rarely even heard – far less used.
Time to Change continues to do excellent work in raising awareness of mental health and helping people to understand all of the issues and the support available. This year’s Time to Talk Day is on 4th February; we hope you will all join in supporting the great work by making people aware of this special event.
Also in February, we brought you news of another initiative we were running in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Glasow Cup Movement. We offered the opportunity to receive free single-use cup recycling bins. This innovative trial using The Coffee Cup Drop Box from DS Smith offered a low-cost, high-impact option for recycling smaller volumes of cups, ideal for SMEs.
You will know that Excel Vending is environmentally aware, and we are keen to promote any initiative that results in less waste going to landfill. So, we were also delighted to see the Scottish Government rubberstamp the new Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) which will become law on the 1st July 2022. From that date, retailers will be required to charge 20p deposit on all sales of PET plastic bottles and tin cans. The deposit is then refunded when the item is returned for recycling.
Reverse Vending plays a pivotal role in the delivery of the DRS, and we are pleased that we have championed the introduction of this .As part of our commitment to the environment, we invested in bringing Reverse Vending Machines to Excel Vending some years ago, and we have worked hard to raise awareness by demonstrating the technology throughout Scotland.
Excel Vending is very well placed to help with the infrastructure required to meet the new legal requirements. We are expert in reverse vending technology and have the machines that not only accept the returns, but they will also manage the refunds that are a critical part of the scheme. We have already installed them in offices, universities, colleges and schools.
Equally, we are also committed to our people. We recently shared a blog post about the new Scottish Living Wage rates, and we remain a Living Wage Scotland accredited company.
This year has been a challenge for all businesses. Excel Vending was delighted to be deemed a ‘key worker’ business which has enabled us to support the many companies also in this category whose teams are working hard to provide essential goods and services. None more so than the NHS sites where we are keeping stocks of hot and cold drinks, healthy eating options and snacks available to NHS staff working tirelessly on the frontline.
Of course, with many work premises closed during the initial lockdown, the demand for food and drink products dipped – this caused a problem with the warehouse and stock approaching sell-by dates. Not willing to accept the potential waste of perfectly good stock, we were delighted to partner with the Glasgow Community Food Network to donate large volumes of our stock for distribution to various communities around Glasgow. We have also donated stock to other worthy causes around East Kilbride and Glasgow to ensure nothing went to waste and that someone benefited from the inevitable surplus created by remote working.
We also launched our new website in June. The old site had served us well, but a lot has changed in the business since it was created, so we decided to launch a whole new site to improve the user experience and to bring you the information that is important to you. It’s fully responsive; so, regardless of the device you choose, the website will display effectively and efficiently.
As part of the web design exercise, we reviewed our messaging to truly express who we are and what we stand for. The new ‘We Care’ slogan is evident throughout the site. This is not a shallow claim. We genuinely care for our people, our customers, our partners, our environment, our community, and our industry.
We remain active at board level with the Automatic Vending Association (AVA) and Associated Vending Services (AVS) . Even though the physical events haven’t taken place this year, video communication has ensured the members remain committed to environmental improvements, technological advances and the general improvement of automated retailing.
We are proud of how the industry has risen to the challenges this year and how our members have supported ‘key worker’ businesses the length and breadth of the UK.
As the year draws to a close we have had time to reflect on the events of 2020. We are encouraged by the way people have responded. Our team have proven to be resilient and have adapted brilliantly to changes in how we must deliver our services. We thank them for the hard work they have shown throughout the year.
Our customers have also proven to be resilient and they have found new ways to work in exceptionally difficult circumstances, we are proud of all their efforts, and we are delighted to be able to continue to support them. We have been operational 7 days a week throughout the year.
Finally, our communities have proven to be resilient and incredibly kind-hearted and caring. From the NHS staff who continue to work hard, to the community groups, to the individuals caring for others, we thank you all. We are pleased to play our part and we will continue to do so in the future.
This year more than any other, we close the annual round-up blog by wishing each and every one a happy and safe Christmas, and we look forward with optimism that 2021 will be the start of a better future for everyone.
Festive Season Opening Hours:
We are closed 25th, 26, 27th December and 1st, 2nd and 3rd January.
We do have an answering service for emergencies that is operated 24/7, 365 days a year.