Iceland to trial Northern Ireland’s first reverse vending machine

UK retailer Iceland has introduced the first in-store reverse vending machine in Northern Ireland as it continues its efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of single-use plastics on the environment.

Reverse vending machines reward individuals for recycling by providing money or vouchers in return for empty containers. Iceland’s reverse vending machine accepts any plastic beverage bottle purchased in Iceland and repays customers with a 10 pence voucher to be used in store for each bottle recycled. The machine will be trialled for six months at Iceland’s Belfast Park Centre store to assess consumer appetite for such a scheme.

The Northern Ireland installation follows the announcement of the results from previous trials of in-store reverse vending machines in England, Scotland and Wales. More than 310,000 plastic bottles were returned over a six-month period, while in November alone, a daily average of 2,583 bottles were recycled across four sites, with an average of £250 in coupons refunded per day.

The results of the Northern Ireland trial will be shared with local councils and the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).