Reverse vending machine raises charity funds at Devon fair

West Devon Borough Council has partnered with FCC Environment to introduce a reverse vending machine, supplied by Tomra, at the Tavistock Goose Fair.

The annual fair, which took place yesterday (9 October), featured a reverse vending machine that allowed customers to insert empty plastic bottles to earn money for a chosen charity.

The Mayors of West Devon and Tavistock at the Tavistock Goose Fair
The Mayors of West Devon and Tavistock at the Tavistock Goose Fair

Cllr Caroline Mott, West Devon Borough Council’s Lead Member for the Environment, said: “This is a really interesting new machine, and I am so delighted that FCC managed to bring it here for the Goose Fair.

“While it is a bit of fun and generates some money for charity, it also carries a serious message. We remain committed to increasing recycling and doing what we can to reduce the effects of climate change. As we said during recycling week this year – the power is in our hands and every bottle really does count.”

The money raised will be donated to the mayors’ charities for West Devon Borough Council and Tavistock Town Council, which include West Devon’s Community Transport Groups and the Tavistock Youth Café.

Commenting on the recycling initiative, FCC Regional Director Steve Longdon said: “The governments of England and Scotland have committed to bringing reverse vending machines to all of our high streets by 2023 to help us all recycle more of the packaging that we use ‘on the go’.

“We are delighted to be bringing the unit to the Goose Fair and to hearing what people have to say about how it works in practice.”

Reverse vending machines are set to be introduced across Scotland in April 2021, as part of the Scottish Government’s plan for an ‘all in’ deposit return scheme (DRS). This will see a 20 pence deposit placed on a variety of drinks containers, which can then be recouped when the container is returned for recycling.

Although the proposed scheme is widely supported by the Scottish public, concerns have been raised about the impact of a DRS on kerbside recycling, with local authorities suggesting that an ‘all in’ DRS would divert revenue away from councils.

Despite the unease amongst local authorities, the UK Government has announced that England and Wales will be following Scotland’s lead, confirming plans to introduce a DRS by 2023.

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