Iceland chooses Belfast for first in-store reverse vending machine trial

Matt Downes, head of format development for Iceland UK, pictured with Iceland employees Jade Craig, Nicole Killyleagh and Ciara McIlwee at the launch of Northern Ireland’s first in-store reverse vending machine at their Park Centre store in Belfast. Photo: Darren Kidd/PressEye

RETAILER Iceland will today launch the first in-store reverse vending machine in Northern Ireland as it looks to continue its efforts to reduce the impact of single use plastics on the environment.

The frozen food specialist will be trialling the machine for six months at its Belfast's Park Centre store to further understand consumer appetite for the scheme.

The installation follows the supermarket's announcement of its UK-first trial of in-store reverse vending machines, which saw more than 310,000 plastic bottles recycled over a six-month period.

In November alone, a daily average of 2,583 bottles were recycled across four sites, with an average of £250 in coupons refunded per day.

Reverse vending machines reward individuals for recycling by providing money or vouchers in return for empty containers

Iceland's reverse vending machine accepts any plastic beverage bottle purchased in Iceland and repays customers with a 10p voucher to be used in store for each bottle recycled.

Trials across England, Scotland and Wales have already seen over 310,000 plastic bottles recycled and over £30,000 refunded to customers.

Richard Walker, managing director at Iceland, said: “The overwhelming consumer support we have received in response to our reverse vending machine trial clearly demonstrates consumer appetite for improved in-store recycling, and deposit return schemes.

“We have expanded our trial to Northern Ireland to ensure our trial is as robust as possible and is representative of customers from across all of the UK.

“The findings will inform future Iceland initiatives and planned roll-outs of recycling schemes, empowering retailers and consumers to tackle the scourge of plastics, head on.”

The trials across England, Scotland and Wales have now been extended for a further six months which will enable further data to be collected and analysed, reflecting 12-month period.

The results of this latest trial in Northern Ireland will be shared with local councils and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera).

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