Green technology in the bag for Edinburgh shoppers

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IT IS the hi-tech equivalent of taking your empties back to the corner shop for a few pence.

A new supermarket recycling centre which rewards customers for depositing glass and plastic is set to be introduced in the Capital.

Tesco is planning to set up the Tomra recycling machine at its Corstorphine branch, having already trialled the device at its South Queensferry store. The machine uses a camera and laser system to sort glass from plastics, and also shreds and compacts all the recycled material on-site.

Customers will then be awarded green clubcard points, depending on the amount of recycling, which can be used to buy products from Tesco.

The initiative follows the success of another Tesco incentive policy, which rewarded customers for taking back old plastic bags with clubcard points.

Early indications from the South Queensferry trial, and from similar trials in England, have shown that the idea is a huge success, and can greatly increase the amount of waste glass and plastic recycled by shoppers.

Tesco South Queensferry store manager Robb Mill said: "Our recycle centre is really popular locally with customers. As well as helping the environment, giving out green clubcard points is a great way of rewarding customers who bring their plastics and glass for recycling.

"At first customers were intrigued by the machines, but they soon worked out the cutting-edge technology and now see the real benefit."

The machine will extend the recycling services offered to the local community, and Tesco said the "state-of-the-art" device would also assist in the Scottish Government's plans to provide a network of modern recycling facilities across the country and the zero waste plan.

The proposal, which has still to receive approval from the council's planning department, would mean a loss of six car parking spaces in order to provide space for the machine and room for the collections vehicle.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Tony McElroy added: "We are making progress with rolling out the machines to new areas. Our application in Corstorphine is at a very early stage, but already the feedback we have had from customers is fantastic.

"We take our commitment to recycling extremely seriously, and are working hard every day to help customers and help drive a green revolution."

Councillor Robert Aldridge, the city's environment leader, said: "I warmly welcome any initiative which encourages people to recycle.

"Recycling rates in the city have been improving year-on-year but in order to meet our ambitious targets we must keep up the good work.

"We are doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible for people to follow the 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' message and this is further bolstered by companies such as Tesco offering incentives to recycle."