Iceland Introduces Reverse Vending Machines That Pay You To Recycle

While it sometimes feels like we're all doing a great job with our recycling, the reality is that we've still got a worryingly long way to go.

Plastic, for instance, takes anywhere between 500-1,000 years to break down - which means that virtually every piece of plastic ever made still exists in some form, much of which is polluting our waters and killing marine wildlife. And, despite the fact that the world is creating more and more plastic each year, only around five percent of this is effectively recycled.

In a LADbible campaign, we've even claimed Trash Isles - the world's first country made entirely of trash - to highlight the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Well, now one supermarket is encouraging people to recycle through the one thing that none of us can resist: cash.

Iceland has set to introduce 'reverse vending machines', which will actually pay you to recycle items. The idea is being trialled in the Fulham branch of the supermarket for six months, and sees customers given a 10p voucher for every plastic bottle brought in to be recycled.

Credit: Iceland
Credit: Iceland

The machine only accepts bottles from Iceland, with a function that scans the bottle's barcode to find out where it's from.

A spokesman for Iceland explained in a statement that the groundbreaking trial would allow the company to gain insights in order to 'maximise the positive environmental impact of the national initiative'.

Iceland Managing Director, Richard Walker, said: "We're the first supermarket to take decisive action to bring the reverse vending machine into stores, following the announcement of the government's support for a deposit return scheme in England.

"We're doing it properly, through consultation with suppliers and by gaining understanding of how customers will act in response to the machine."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The move follows the Government's announcement that it may be introducing a bottle deposit scheme, which would make people pay a deposit upfront each time they buy a drink in a container.

Responding to the news of Iceland's trial, Michael Gove said: "I applaud Iceland for leading the way with their trial scheme. It is absolutely vital we act now to curb the millions of plastic bottles a day that go unrecycled.

"Support from businesses will be a vital part of ensuring we leave our environment in a better state than we found it."

We think it sounds like a solid idea - here's hoping other big names follow suit soon.

Featured Image Credit: Iceland

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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