A selection of UK theme parks and tourist attractions are offering discounted entry in return for plastic bottles, as part of a new incentive scheme run by Coca-Cola and Merlin. The reverse vending machines will be outside the entrances of Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland.
The aim of the initiative is to boost recycling rates and tackle the problem of plastic waste. Users of the reverse recycling machines who deposit 500ml bottles will be rewarded with half price discount vouchers, which can be redeemed at all 30 Merlin attractions around the UK.
The scheme is running from today, 25th July 2018 to mid-October. It was prompted by research from Coca-Cola which found 64 per cent of Brits would recycle more often if they were instantly rewarded.
According to the Guardian, only 43 per cent of the 13 billion plastic bottles sold each year across the UK are recycled. In response to the plastic problem around the both around the UK and globally, businesses signed the UK Plastics Pact and environment secretary Michael Gove announced that there are plans to launch a mandatory deposit system for cans and bottles in the UK.
Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola UK & Ireland, spoke of the new incentive, and said: “We want to reward people for doing the right thing by recycling their bottles and hope to encourage some people who wouldn’t otherwise have done so. All of our bottles can be recycled and we want to get as many of them back as possible so they can be turned into new bottles and not end up as litter.”
A number of countries already use return schemes, which operate on the basis that an additional deposit is added to the product, which is given back to the customer when they return the bottle or can. However, one retailer in the UK has already introduced deposit return machines.
The Co-Op is trialling the reverse vending machines at UK festivals, and have so far had a positive response. The retailer paired up with Festival Republic for the partnership, and it has been present at Download and Latitude, and will be at Reading and Leeds in their pop-up shops. Morrisons and Iceland have launched small scale trials of the system, also.