New Scottish ‘Recycle and Reward’ schemes

Recycle and Reward

(L-R) Sofie Rogers, Store Sustainability Responsible (IKEA); Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment; Iain Gulland, Director Zero Waste Scotland; Sean McArthur, Food Manager and Sustainability Manager (IKEA) in front of a reverse vending pilot project for glass , aluminium and PET at the Edinburgh IKEA store.

Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) has today (21 February), announced the launch of ‘Recycle and Reward’ schemes, a new £900,000 pilot programme offering monetary incentives to people who recycle glass, aluminium and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) drinks containers.

The scheme, which offers recyclers rewards such as money back, discount vouchers or vouchers for donations to charities, is currently being trialled at nine organisations: IKEA, Dundee University, Network Rail, Whitmuir Organics, Cordia Services LLP, Heriot Watt University, North Ayrshire Council, South Ayrshire Council and the Hebridean Celtic Festival.

These nine ‘Recycle and Reward’ schemes will be piloted across 14 locations and will run until September 2013. According to ZWS, they will be ‘independently monitored and evaluated’ to assess the potential impact they could have on recycling rates around the country.

Director of ZWS, Iain Gulland, said: “It’s vital that we consider fresh approaches to boosting recycling rates and capturing the value of materials which would otherwise be sent straight to landfill. Through this pilot, we want to assess the impact of this approach, which has proved successful around the world, including in Germany, South Australia and Scandinavia. 

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

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, Richard Lochhead, added: “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.

“Each year, around 22,000 tonnes of plastic drinks bottles alone go 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 what they can.

“I hope this new scheme will encourage everyone to go that bit further, helping us to become a zero waste society. By taking small actions to go greener together we benefit Scotland today and for future generations.” 

Reverse vending

As part of the programme, one of the organisations trialling the project, IKEA, has installed ‘reverse vending’ machines at its Edinburgh and Glasgow stores. Shoppers will be able to use the reverse vending machine to recycle ‘any glass, plastic or aluminium drinks containers’, purchased from the store to receive either a 10p voucher to redeem in store, or a 10p donation to one of IKEA’s selected charities.

Other projects which have been awarded funding through the Recycle and Reward pilot scheme are:

  • University of Dundee - An on-campus initiative, with on-site reverse vending machines placed in prominent areas for use by staff and students.
  • Cordia Services LLP -Reverse vending machines will be placed in the refectory areas of Glasgow Caledonian University for use by students and staff
  • Heriot Watt University - An on-campus deposit and return initiative, with on-site reverse vending machines placed in prominent areas for use by staff and students.
  • Whitmuir Organics - A deposit and return pilot project for the collection of glass, aluminium and plastic (PET) containers at Whitmuir Farm
  • North Ayrshire Council - Reverse vending pilot for aluminium and PET at Garnock Academy, Ardrossan Academy and Largs Academy
  • South Ayrshire Council - Reverse vending machines will be placed at the Council’s Community Recycling Centres in Troon and Marr College
  • Network Rail - Reverse vending machines for aluminium and plastics (PET) to be placed in Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central rail stations for use by commuters
  • Hebridean Celtic Festival - Reverse vending machines to be placed at the Celtic Festival

Online help

ZWS has also launched today new ‘online support’ in aid of Scottish businesses and organisations in their efforts to reduce waste under the New Waste (Scotland) Regulations.

Passed in May 2012, the regulations will, as of 1 January 2014, legally require businesses in Scotland to ‘separate key recyclable materials – including paper and card plastic, metals and glass – for collection’. Businesses that produce more than 50kg of food waste per week will also need to separate it for collection.

The first two services launched by ZWS are an online FAQ aimed at addressing ‘common queries’ relating to the changes under the New Waste (Scotland) Regulations and a ‘postcode finder’ which will aid businesses in their ‘search for reputable and cost effective waste and resource management services’.

Director of ZWS, Iain Gulland, said: “With the countdown to regulations now underway, it’s important that Scottish businesses work towards compliance. The regulations are designed to enable businesses to further reduce waste, enable the recycling of quality materials, and be more resource efficient – all offering the potential for business cost savings and wider economic opportunities.

“Zero Waste Scotland will be building on this newly launched online support over the coming months to help support all those businesses and organisations who would find this useful.” 

Under Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan the country has set targets of 70 per cent recycling and a mere five per cent landfill by 2025.

This news follows a report by the Scottish Environmental Services Association (SESA), which found that if the Scottish Government is to achieve its Zero Waste Plan, it must address barriers surrounding planning applications and unlock around £1 billion of further investment needed for waste treatment infrastructure.

Read more about the New Waste (Scotland) Regulations.