Coca-Cola and Merlin Entertainments extend on-the-go plastic recycling initiative

Coca-Cola Great Britain has announced it has extended a project to place onsite reverse vending machines for plastic bottles at major UK attractions including Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park, and Legoland Windsor, after a trial collected more than 26,000 bottles last year.


Coca-Cola and Merlin Entertainments extend on-the-go plastic recycling initiative

The reverse vending machines enable automated collecting

Between 25 July and 19 October last year, Coca-Cola GB and Merlin Entertainments placed reverse vending machines at attractions, enabling visitors to recycle any 500ml plastic bottle to receive a 50% discount voucher. During the 2018 trial, more than 26,000 bottles were exchanged for vouchers.

From this week (8 July), 23 machines will be available at Merlin attractions, including Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland Windsor. Additional machines have also been rolled out at SeaLife Blackpool and Warwick Castle Resort.

Coca-Cola European Partners’ general manager and vice president Leendert den Hollander said: “Through the bold action plan outlined as part of our sustainable packaging strategy – This is Forward – we’re determined to make recycling on-the-go easier for consumers and lead the way towards a robust circular economy in Great Britain.

“Ultimately, we want to reach the point where 100% of our packaging is collected, reused or recycled – and where none of it ends up as litter in our streets, parks or in the oceans. Our continued partnership with Merlin Entertainments forms an important part of this, as we seek to reward and recognise people for recycling their used plastic bottles – and encourage others who may not be actively recycling to follow suit.”

The reverse vending machines enable automated collecting, sorting and handling of returned or used plastic bottles for recycling or reuse. As a reward, Coca-Cola GB is offering 50% discount vouchers off entries to 30 Merlin-owned attractions. The vouchers equate to savings of around £27 when purchasing a Merlin attraction day pass – far higher than the original cost of the plastic bottle.

Environmental entertainment

Merlin Entertainments joins the likes of MorrisonsIceland and Download, Latitude and Reading and Leeds festivals in hosting reverse vending machines.

In 2018, Merlin Entertainments announced it was sourcing 100% renewably generated electricity across its UK attractions, after signing a supply deal with green power firm Ecotricity.

The Legoland, Sea Life and Madame Tussauds operator has launched a review into the sale and distribution of single-use plastic items across its global estate, pledging a removal of plastic straws from its operations by the end of 2018.

Matt Mace

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Comments (1)

  1. Andy Kadir-Buxton says:

    Method for Disposing of Single Use Plastic Found

    The ‘Daily Mail’ 11 July 2019 reports that single use plastic can now be turned into electricity and hydrogen, both important in a near-zero CO2 economy, it can be used on dirty or mixed plastic, and leaves no residue. The University of Chester, in partnership with PowerHouse Energy, has come up with the process and Waste2Tricity is the exclusive developer in the UK and South East Asia. They intend to stop plastic being dumped in rivers and oceans by making it valuable, paying $50 a tonne to be put in their kilns.

    The process includes cutting the plastic into 5cm strips, the air is squeezed out, and heating it in a kiln at 1,000 degrees Centigrade which instantly melts and gasifies it. This syngas (synthetic gas similar to natural gas) has very low CO2 content and goes into a pressure swing absorption (PSA) which extracts hydrogen at two tonnes a day. The remainder of the gas is used to generate electricity in a gas engine. It is hoped that the patented technology will soon power the plant at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, 7,000 houses on the grid in a day, and 7,000 hydrogen cars in two weeks. As excess energy from solar and wind turbines will have to be stored for peak use and for night time use, hydrogen is an instant way of providing such energy on demand, and the more the better. PowerHouse Energy say they have received a letter of support from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry about their DMG technology, which is the thermal conversion of carbonaceous organic materials, which is converting complex molecules into simple, safe, molecules. In the letter the Japanese Government Ministry said it considers the DMG technology has many environmental advantages, and views it as a major competitor within the low-cost production of hydrogen industry.

    Professor Joe Howe, Executive Director of Thornton Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester said: We are extremely excited to be hosting the prototype demonstrator here at the University of Chester. The technology converts all plastic waste into high quality, low carbon hydrogen syngas which can then be used to power gas engines. A by-product of this process is electricity, meaning waste plastic can not only fuel cars but can also keep the lights on at home. Surely the world must wake up to this technology. It will make waste plastic valuable with it being able to power the world’s towns and cities, and most importantly, it can help clean up our oceans of waste plastic now.

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