Retailers promised rates freeze if they install reverse vending machines

Retailers in Scotland who install plastic bottle reverse vending machines have been guaranteed that their rates will not rise.

As part of a major sustainability push Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has promised any retailer taking part in the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) that their rates will stay put.

Reverse vending machines allow shoppers to deposit their old single-use plastic drinks bottles in exchange for loyalty points or cash.

READ MORE: Iceland’s reverse deposit vending machines recycle 1m bottles

Scotland’s DRS will reimburse customers 20p for every drinks bottle or can deposited.

Rising business rates have been cited as a major factor in the UK’s current retail crisis, making this offer especially enticing for retailers, and its expected more than 3000 will install reverse vending machines as a result.

“We recognise the global climate emergency and the need for everyone to work together to improve the lives of current and future generations,” Sturgeon said.

“Retailers will be critical to the success of our planned Deposit Return Scheme and by introducing rates relief, we are supporting them to play their part.

“Retailers are already taking steps to reduce packaging and I look forward to the introduction of this scheme and the positive change in behaviour it will lead to.”

Major retailers including Sainsbury’s, Boots, Morrisons and Iceland have been experimenting with the reverse vending machines since last year, with the latter announcing in August that it has recycled over 1 million bottles through the scheme.

The draft legislation for this scheme was laid out in Parliament on September 10 and views are being sought by December 10, with a view to putting it into effect by April 2020.

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