The first automated recycling centre at a Scottish supermarket was opened yesterday.

The new facility at Tesco Extra in Shettleston, Glasgow, is designed to make recycling quicker, easier and more convenient as shoppers can recycle a variety of materials in the same machine.

Items accepted include cans, plastic and glass. Waste is then crushed and compacted on site resulting in fewer lorry collections, reducing carbon emissions.

Under Tesco's current promotion, recyclers will receive one green Clubcard point for every two aluminium cans recycled.

“Tesco's commitment to encouraging their customers to recycle is to be applauded and I am pleased to hear of plans to introduce this facility to further stores,” said cabinet secretary for the environment Richard Lochhead, who opened the facility.

“The Scottish Government feels strongly about reducing waste. However, we cannot deliver our aims and objectives in isolation. These can only be achieved by working in partnership with others, including the private sector.

“So it is always encouraging to see projects and initiatives that directly contribute towards our vision of a zero-waste society. It is vital that, for the sake of future generations we reduce our consumption of non-renewable resources, and lessen our impact on the wider environment.”

The Tomra recycling machine cost Tesco around £150,000 and is the first of its kind in a Scottish supermarket. It was designed by Scandinavian engineers and is used widely in continental Europe. Recyclable items are dropped one at a time into the machine and lasers scan and identify the material being deposited.

These are then transferred mechanically onto a conveyor system and crushed and/or shredded prior to being deposited into collection bins. The machines can recycle glass bottles and jars, steel and aluminium food and drink cars, plastic bottles, yoghurt pots and plastic food trays.