Co-op to Introduce Reverse Vending
Machines for Plastic at UK Music Festivals

Summer music festivals and other events get a bad press when it comes to recycling and litter, but the Co-op are trying to change that. The group is launching a trial deposit return scheme at a number of music festivals to boost plastic recycling and in turn, reduce marine plastic pollution.

Reverse vending machines will be installed on sites at Co-op pop-up stores at the Download, Leicestershire, Latitude, Suffolk, and Reading and Leeds festivals in a bit to encourage revellers to recycle their plastic bottles. If the trial goes well, the machines will be trialled in some standard Co-op stores.

The plastic bottles sold at the pop-up stores will have a deposit added to the price, which people will get back in the form of a voucher to spend at the store when they return the bottles.

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Co-op move towards sustainability

All the bottles collected at the festivals will be recycled to make new bottles for Co-op’s own brand bottled water.

The Co-op is the first company to introduce a deposit return scheme after the government announced plans to make it policy to combat the problem of plastic pollution.

A spokesperson for Co-op said that the group is committed to giving customers the chance to make ethical choices as part of their goal to make all of their food and drinks packaging 100% recyclable.

Coop launched the scheme in partnership with Festival Republic, the organisation who organises and stages some of the UK’s most iconic festivals. A spokesman for the company said that it was exciting to think that the 350,000+ festival goers who attend their events will be among the first people in the UK to be able to recycle plastic bottles in a reverse vending machine.

As well as the introduction of reverse vending machines, more than 60 of the UK’s biggest music festivals have pledged to ban plastic straws at their events, and they’ve also committed to eliminating single-use plastic by 2021.

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How can you be more eco-friendly at festivals?

If you’re going to an event this summer, you can have fun and be eco-friendly by following our tips:

Take a recyclable tent

Many people discard their cheap tents after a festival because it seems easier than trying to wrestle with it in the mud and go through the hassle of packing it up. Discarding tents is a headache for workers who have the enormous task of clearing the site, and it’s terrible for the environment, as most of them will end up in landfill.

You can be more eco-friendly by either investing a bit more cash in a better quality tent so it will last or buy a compostable tent so that it won’t harm the environment if you leave it behind.

Take a reusable water bottle

Festival goers drink a lot of bottled water, which adds up to a lot of plastic waste. Why not take your own reusable water bottle, and fill it up from the taps on site? It’s kinder to the environment and kinder on your pocket.

Try to car share

If you know other people who are going to the same festival, why not share a car rather than taking several vehicles? You can also take advantage of the extra public transport which is usually laid on for events.

Always recycle

Many of the UK’s festivals have a recycling scheme in place. Glastonbury has bins for dry recyclables, compostable waste, and landfill waste. Volunteers remove and recycle the waste around the clock. If you’re at a festival, use the recycling bins, or take your rubbish home and pop it in your bin or box.

car share