UK-based supermarket firm Co-op is planning to set up reverse vending machines at several UK festivals this summer, in a bid to boost recycling and reduce marine pollution.


Image: The Co-op’s reverse vending machine. Photo: courtesy of Co-operative Group Limited.

With the installation of reverse vending machines, Co-op is set to become the first UK retailer to trial a bottle deposit return scheme.

The firm, in partnership with Festival Republic, plans to installs the machines on-site at its pop up store at the Download, Latitude and Reading & Leeds festivals.

Co-op said that a mandatory deposit will be added to the plastic bottles purchased at the pop-up Co-op store to fund the deposit scheme.

The deposit, however, will be refunded to consumers in the form of a voucher which can be spent at on-site stores.

The firm plans to recycle the bottles collected at the festivals, to create bottles for the Co-op’s own brand water bottles.

Co-op retail CEO Jo Whitfield said: “I’m excited that, in partnership with Live Nation and Recycling Options, we have the opportunity to bring these machines to the UK only a few months after they were officially given the green light by the Government.

“We’re committed to giving our customers ways to make more ethical choices, so this is a hugely exciting milestone in our sustainability journey to achieve our future aim of making all of our food packaging 100% recyclable.”

By 2025, Co-op plans to make 100% of its own-brand packaging easy to recycle. It also also intends to eliminate the use of black and dark plastics from its shelves by 2020.

Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn said: “We welcome over 350,000 revellers across these four iconic festival sites.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to think that they will be amongst the first people in the UK to have the opportunity to recycle their plastic bottles simply and easily using the reverse vending machines, in addition to the existing deposit return schemes at the festivals.”