Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead unveiled the ‘recycle and reward’ pilots yesterday during a visit to furniture giant IKEA’s Edinburgh store.

The local projects will reward people for recycling glass, aluminium and plastic (PET) drinks containers through a range of incentives such as money back, discount vouchers or vouchers for donations to charities.

IKEA, together with Dundee University, Network Rail and Whitmuir Organics are among the nine companies and organisations that will be trialling the pilots.

The projects will be piloted at 14 locations, including retail outlets, event venues, shopping centres and schools and colleges. The pilots will run until September
and will be independently monitored and evaluated.

Lochhead visited the IKEA store to see the first of the ‘reverse vending’ machines and hear how the retailer is rolling out the scheme throughout its Scottish stores.

“Each year, around 22,000 tonnes of plastic drinks bottles alone go to landfill in Scotland,” he said. “If that was separated for recycling it could be worth around £6m to the economy and that’s why it’s so important that we help more people to recycle what they can.”

At IKEA, shoppers will be able to recycle any glass, plastic or aluminium drinks containers purchased from the restaurant, shop or vending machines in their Edinburgh and Glasgow stores.

Once returned and deposited through the machine, for each item shoppers will be offered the choice of a 10p voucher to redeem in-store or a 10p donation to one of IKEA’s selected charities.

“Years ago, we thought nothing of taking our empty glass bottles back to the shops with the added bonus of getting cash back in our pocket,” added Lockhead.

“Now thanks to modern technology we are breathing new life into this traditional approach through the scheme.

“By offering customers incentives such as money back or vouchers for recycling their glass bottles and cans when out shopping, at college or travelling to work, I hope we can encourage more people to recycle on the go.”

Nick Warburton

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