scottish deposit return nicola sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is given a demonstration of the Flex reverse vending machine by Envipco’s Sion Stanfield

Nisa, Premier and Keystore have linked with the Scottish Grocers Federation and reverse vending machine manufacturer Envipco to deliver “ground-breaking” reverse vending pilots in three Scottish convenience stores.

Customers at the three stores will receive 10p for every empty plastic bottle or can deposited into Envipco’s on-site Flex machine from the middle of next month through to April.

The three stores are Nisa Local in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, Premier Broadway in Oxgangs, Edinburgh and Keystore in Moredun, also in the Scottish capital.

Recycling company Viridor will support the pilots by collecting and recycling the empty containers deposited.

Envipco claims the Flex machine is the smallest footprint reverse vending machine on the global market, at 60cm wide. This is important for independents, where floor space is critical, it has pointed out.

The machine flattens empty bottles and cans, which allows for storage of up to 600 cans and 300 plastic bottles.

Read more: Scottish deposit return scheme could undermine minimum unit pricing, warns SBPA

Abdul Majid, owner of Nisa Local Bellshill, said: “We are delighted to be one of the stores involved in this ground-breaking trial. The support we are receiving from Envipco and Viridor is making this possible. This will help local people to recycle, reduce litter and improve the local environment.”

John Lee, SGF head of policy and public affairs, said: “These trials will give us invaluable learning and insight into deposit return, particularly how shop staff and customers respond to having a reverse vending machine sited in-store.

“This learning will ultimately help us develop and implement a system which is effective for retailers, consumers, and communities.”

Bob Lincoln, president of Envipco, said: “Envipco is very excited to be supporting the SGF stores’ trial of our reverse vending machines. We know the importance of convenience stores to the retail sector in Scotland.

“Envipco will do all that we can to support grocers managing the implementation of the deposit return scheme, with the end goal of increasing recycling rates and reducing littering.”

Viridor local authority contracts manager Hugh Booth said getting first-hand experience of the operations and logistics of a deposit return scheme was a key reason the waste management company was supporting the trial.

“We want it to become the norm that a bottle a customer buys is reprocessed and used to make a new bottle,” he said. “This trial shows how important partnership is to making that happen - the whole chain working together - retailers, recyclers, manufacturers and back again.”