27 August 2019 by Will Date

Sainsbury’s includes glass in reverse vending trial

A trial of reverse vending technology which accepts glass bottles, PET bottles and cans has launched at Sainsbury’s supermarket in Newbury, Berkshire.

Tomra claimed that the trial is the first of its kind in England to include glass in a reverse vending unit, and comes ahead of the introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks packaging.

However, in 2004 DRS style banks were introduced and trialled by Tesco at a number of sites, including one at Winchester which was opened by the then secretary of state for the environment, Margaret Beckett.  These trials faced problems with glass, including with large champagne bottles (see letsrecycle.com story).

Mark Brill, vice president dales & marketing, UK & Ireland of Tomra, with the reverse vending unit at Sainsbury’s in Newbury

The Sainsbury’s trial is taking place in partnership with reverse vending specialist Tomra Collection Solutions UK and Ireland, using a machine known as the T-70 Dual.

According to Tomra the T-70 can store up to 50% more material than previous models of reverse vending machine, due to in-built compaction and accumulation technology which allows the inclusion of glass bottles.

Sainsbury’s is offering a 5p coupon for every qualifying drinks container which is returned to the machine.

Retailers

Truls Haug, Managing Director of Tomra Collection UK & Ireland, said: “We are excited to be working with Sainsbury’s on this landmark trial.

“Showing how three materials can be easily collected in stores with Tomra reverse vending technology is an important learning for retailers and consumers as we move towards an all-inclusive deposit return scheme in the UK, starting with Scotland.

“We look forward to hearing feedback from shoppers and Sainsbury’s staff as the trial progresses.”

Government is considering introducing a DRS as part of its Resources and Waste Strategy to increase recycling of drinks containers. This would see consumers pay a deposit when buying a soft drink, which is recouped if the packaging is returned for recycling via a retailer.

Defra is thought to favour an ‘all-in’ deposit scheme, which is likely to include all PET plastic drinks bottles, aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Government also planning to follow the all-in route.

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