How you can be rewarded for recycling by using new ‘reverse vending machine’ in Letchworth

A reverse vending machine is set to be installed in Letchworth's Garden Square Shopping centre to en

A reverse vending machine is set to be installed in Letchworth's Garden Square Shopping centre to encourage shoppers to recycle in exchange for retail incentives. Picture: ACM Environmental PLC - Credit: Archant

Letchworth town centre is set to become the first in the country to introduce a ‘reverse vending machine’, which offers rewards to those who use the machine to recycle plastic bottles and drinks cans.

The Letchworth Business Improvement District has partnered with environmental waste management company ACM Environmental PLC to deliver the initiative to the town centre on August 20.

BID manager Chris Wilson said: "There is no such thing as 'away'. When we throw something away it must go somewhere.

"We are installing a reverse vending machine to encourage more people to recycle. Though we all know recycling and re-using is the right thing to do, the idea of an instant reward scheme really does incentivise.

"We're looking for more businesses that want to be included as it's a great tool to drive footfall in stores, while benefitting the environment."

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The EcoVend Reverse Vending machine will be installed in the Garden Square Shopping Centre, opposite Superdrug, and retailers are joining forces to offer rewards for shoppers who deposit empty drinks bottles and cans into the recycling machine.

Rewards for using the scheme will include 10 per cent off at Just For Me, £1 off a carvery at The Broadway and 20 per off workspace booking at The Third Space.

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ACM chief executive Andy Jacobs said: "As an organisation with sustainability at our very core, we are delighted to be the first waste management company in the country to offer these machines to our clients.

"Through our greener path programme, we are already actively helping our clients to reduce the amount of waste they produce, something no other waste company does, and now to be able to lead the change and facilitate the rewarding and encouraging further recycling is excellent."

This latest forward-thinking initiative is the first town centre project of its type in the UK and directly tackles the scourge of discarded single-use plastics ending up in our oceans, waterways and streets.

Locations for each RVM are usually in areas of high footfall because the machines feature large integral digital AV screens, for organisations to advertise their products.

Letchworth also recently became the first town in Hertfordshire to earn the Surfers Against Sewage 'Plastic Free' status, for its work towards reducing single-use plastic in the garden city.

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