Co-op to launch deposit return scheme trials at four UK festivals

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Supermarket Co-op has announced that it will be launching a deposit return scheme (DRS) trial with reverse vending machines at four major music festivals this summer. 

This initiative is part of the store’s commitment to increasing recycling and reducing marine pollution.  

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The reverse vending machines will be installed on-site at the Co-op pop-up stores at Download (8-10th June), Latitude (12-15th July) and Reading and Leeds festivals (24-26th August), through a partnership with Festival Republic.  

Plastic bottles sold at the pop-up stores will have a mandatory deposit added to price, with festival goers able to return it to the vending machine in exchange for a voucher to spend in the on-site stores. 

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To close the loop in this trial, the bottles collected at each festival will then go on to be recycled to create bottles for Co-op’s own brand bottles water.  

Co-op retail chief executive Jo Whitfield said: “As the UK’s leading ethical retailer there’s nowhere better for us to start our trial of reverse vending machines than at some of the UK’s most well-loved festivals. 

“Reducing the amount of plastic that makes its way to landfill is really important to us and our members. I’m excited that, in partnership with Live Nation and Recycling Options, we have the opportunity to bring these machines to the UK only a few months after they were officially given the green light by the Government.  

She added: “We’re committed to giving our customers ways to make more ethical choices, so this is a hugely exciting milestone in our sustainability journey to achieve our future aim of making all of our food packaging 100% recyclable.” 

Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn said: “We welcome over 350,000 revellers across these four iconic festival sites. It’s absolutely fantastic to think that they will be among the first people in the UK to have the opportunity to recycle their plastic bottles simply and easily using the reverse vending machines, in addition to the existing deposit return schemes at the festivals.” 

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