Ikea recycle bottle return idea at Edinburgh store

SCOTLAND’S latest recycling initiative is aiming to breathe new life into an old-fashioned habit.

People who remember taking lemonade bottles back to the shop to collect the deposit are being urged to revive the practice.

Now they can take back aluminium cans and plastic drinks containers as well as empty glass bottles.

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Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead visited Ikea’s Edinburgh store to launch a pilot “Recycle and Reward” scheme, which will involve nine companies and organisations across the country.

The initiative is designed to encourage people to recycle and limit the amount of drinks containers going to landfill.

After inspecting the first of the “reverse vending” machines, Mr Lochhead said: “Years ago, we thought nothing of taking our empty glass bottles back to the shops with the added bonus of getting cash back. Now thanks to modern technology we are breathing new life into this traditional approach through the Recycle and Reward scheme.

“By offering customers incentives, I hope we can encourage more people to recycle on the go.”

He said each year around 22,000 tonnes of plastic drinks bottles alone were sent to landfill in Scotland.

“If that was separated for recycling it could be worth around £6 million to the economy and that’s why it’s so important that we help more people to recycle.”

Shoppers at Ikea will be able to recycle any glass, plastic or aluminium drinks containers purchased from the restaurant, shop, or vending machines in the store. For each item deposited through the reverse vending machine, shoppers will be offered the choice of a 10p voucher to redeem in store or a 10p donation to one of the store’s selected charities.

Network Rail is to install reverse vending machines for aluminium and plastics at Waverley station and Heriot-Watt University will operate an on-campus deposit and return scheme, with reverse vending machines placed in prominent areas for use by staff and students.

Organic enterprise Whitmuir Farm, West Linton, will also run a deposit and return pilot project for the collection of glass, aluminium and plastic containers.

The pilot projects are part of the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Scotland programme.

Zero Waste Scotland director Iain Gulland said: “It’s important we change the way people view waste in Scotland and we’ll be looking at how incentivising impacts on recycling rates and complements other schemes designed to capture valuable materials, including kerbside, recycling centres and banks.”