Veolia and restaurant chain LEON set up reverse vending machine

PET bottle
Powerhouse Energy developer Waste2Tricity (W2T) has signed a binding memorandum of understanding with recyclers Advanced Sustainable Developments (ASD).

Veolia and restaurant chain LEON have set up a reverse vending machine in King’s Cross in London that is designed to accept plastic bottles and aluminium cans.  

Backed by research which found that 81% of people would go out of their way to deposit a bottle or can, the pilot scheme will operate for six months to motivate people to recycle while on the go.  


Any bottle returned will receive a voucher worth 10% off the bill at the nearest LEON restaurant.  

There will be a Design for Lifecycle Theatre at The Recycling Event. Speakers include WRAP and TerraCycle. Info:

According to Veolia, Britain fails to recycle 40% of plastic bottles because they aren’t placed in the right bins. This equates to over 240,000 tonnes of bottles not reaching recycling centres annually.  

The pilot has been designed around consumers to target disposable drinks containers most commonly discarded on the go, including bottles under 750ml as well as aluminium cans, and to make it easier for people to recycle, reduce littering and allow more materials to be saved.  

Veolia UK & Ireland chief technology and innovation officer Richard Kirkman said: “A UK-wide deposit return scheme is imperative if we want to round up the millions of stray plastic bottles and cans we as a country are not recycling. This pilot Veolia is conducting with LEON is the yardstick for on the go recycling. Located in a high footfall area and targeting the drinks containers most commonly misplaced – plastic bottles up to 750ml and aluminium cans – the machine offers an alternative to carrying recyclable items home or discarding as litter.  

“Our research shows people are motivated to recycle, they care about the environment and the vast majority are poised to use a machine like ours when a reasonable walk away. Veolia will collect and process the machine’s contents, ultimately transporting the bottles and cans to be recycled into new products. We hope as the pilot unfolds, it proves the importance of recycling on the go as well as the need for appropriate infrastructure to facilitate it.” 

The reverse vending machine is located under West Handyside Canopy, opposite to Granary Square in King’s Cross. 

Depositing a plastic bottle (up to 750ml) or an aluminium can will provide you 10% off the bill at the LEON in St Pancras Square. One voucher is redeemable per purchase.  

LEON co-founder and chief executive John Vincent said: “At LEON we’ve been committed to being the most sustainable business we can be since we opened our first restaurant in 2004. Through our Planet LOVe programme launched in 2019, we will carry on investing in new ways to reduce single use plastics and find better recycling solutions because, put simply, the planet needs us to. 
“We’re really excited about this partnership with Veolia because we know that, as an industry, we need to push for the right facilities and infrastructure to ensure better recycling and reuse – this is a great step forward. And we can’t wait to welcome all the recycling warriors into our restaurants and reward their efforts with a little thank you from us.” 

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