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West Suffolk trials reverse vending machines to ‘get ahead of the curve’ on DRS

West Suffolk council has announced that it will launch four reverse vending machines across the region, as part of efforts to prepare for the introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS) next year. 

The project partners next to one of the machines

The four machines will enable residents to bring beverage containers back to the site in exchange for points-based rewards through the ‘Trovr’ app, which can then be spent in local businesses.

Trovr uses a smartphone app to “incentivise recycling”.

Two machines will be rolled out in Newmarket, with a further two in Bury St Edmunds.

The council explained that with a DRS due to be rolled out in October 2025,  “West Suffolk residents will be ahead of the curve in using such a scheme”.

‘Pioneering’

Similar schemes have been launched in the past by local authorities.

In 2019, Hackney said it was the first in the UK to install a reverse vending machine as part of its efforts to improve recycling rates in flats and on estates (see letsrecycle.com story).

A string of others have also been rolled out by companies and other organisations.

However,  Cllr Cliff Waterman, leader of West Suffolk council claimed that West Suffolk is the first council to implement this.

He said: “West Suffolk is pioneering as the first council in England to implement this unique project. It is brilliant that, in collaboration with partners, we have successfully introduced these machines to West Suffolk. The project puts West Suffolk at the forefront of environmental innovation and is just one part of the work we’re doing to tackle the climate crisis.

“It encourages greater recycling by our residents which can only be positive in terms of reducing waste and boosting our environmental resilience. And by rewarding residents with money off to spend at local businesses, this will also support the gradual and sustainable growth of our local economy.”

Collaboration

The project is being run in partnership with Love Newmarket Business Improvement District (BID), The Guineas Shopping Centre, Abbeycroft Leisure, Eastern Education Group, Our Bury St Edmunds BID and Trovr.

West Suffolk Council has invested £3,000 towards the six-month trial, with further funding secured from both the Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds BIDs.

Ross McKittrick, centre manager for The Guineas Shopping Centre said: “I’m truly exhilarated to embark on this groundbreaking journey with Trovr’s Reverse Vending Machine trial. Our commitment to sustainability is paramount, and this partnership represents a significant step forward in our efforts to encourage recycling within our community. Together, we’re pioneering innovative solutions to reduce waste and protect our environment for future generations.”

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