Dear Recycling Bins: Our Weekly Recycling Advice Column
Welcome to our weekly advice column where we look at all things recycling and give you the answers you’re desperately seeking.
Dear Recycling Bins,
I do try to recycle, but I’m not perfect. Sometimes it just feels like hard work so I don’t do as much as I could. So I got to thinking about what would encourage me (and probably a lot of other people) to recycle more, and I think that if there was some sort of reward or incentive for recycling, loads more people would make the effort.
I’ve seen some places offering vouchers and discounts in exchange for recycling, but can you tell me what else is on offer?
Ms. Must Do Better
Dear Must Do Better,
Many companies are now rewarding customers for recycling, especially when it comes to recycling packaging, and in fact, with a little organisation on your part, you can claim hundreds of pounds each year in cash, vouchers, discounts, freebies, and loyalty points.
Here are some examples of what you can get in return for taking packaging back to a store:
Plastic bottle and cans
Reverse vending machines for bottles and cans are becoming very popular in supermarkets. When you take them back to the store, you usually get a money-off voucher to be used against your next shop. Iceland offers a 10p voucher in return for deposits, as does Tesco, and Sainsbury’s offers 5p vouchers. If you’re keen and take as many as 500 items into the store (which is the limit), you could get £25 off your shopping.
Theme Parks like Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures, and Legoland have reverse vending machines at their entrances which accept 500ml plastic bottles. In return for depositing the bottles, you get a 50% off admission voucher which is valid at 30 different attractions.
H&M accept unwanted clothing from any brand, even if it’s not in good condition, and you’ll get a £5 voucher to spend in store in return.
Marks & Spencer rewards customers who bring their unwanted clothes to its instore “shwop bins” with 50 Sparks points, which makes customers eligible for special offers and early bird sales discounts.
MAC gives customers a free lipstick if they return six used containers to its stores.
At eco-conscious brand Lush, you can get a free face mask if you return five recyclable cream pots to its stores.
If you take back five tubs, bottles, tubes, or pots back to a Body Shop store, you can get a £5 voucher.
If you’re a perfume lover, you can get a 10% discount at The Perfume Shop when you take any old perfume bottles (from any retailer) into one of its stores.
Hopefully this will help you recycle your beauty products more easily, as the rules around recycling them can be notoriously confusing. For example, perfume bottle can’t be recycled as part of normal household collections as they need to be cleaned, and any metal elements have to be removed and processed separately.
Other ways you can cash in
You can get 50p off hot drinks in Pret a Manger when you take in a reusable cup. Starbucks offers a 25p discount.
If you trade in your iPhone with Apple’s recycling scheme, you can get an Apple store gift card or credit to spend on a new purchase.
We hope this helps!