Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow University unveils reverse vending machine

Students try out the new Reverse Vending Machine Image copyright Glasgow University
Image caption Students Tahsina Akbar, 28, and Ahmed Prapan, 27, were the first to try out the new machine

Glasgow University has installed a "reverse vending" machine for the return of used plastic drinks bottles.

The machine, located in the Fraser Building, will make a donation to the Beatson Pebble Appeal, which raises funds for cancer research.

After a trial period, users will also be able to recycle drinks cans in return for 10p cash tokens which can then be spent on campus.

The system has operated for decades in many Scandinavian countries.

Earlier this year, the Scottish government made a commitment to develop a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for single-use drinks containers that will be rolled out across Scotland.

The principle of deposit-return is to create an additional incentive where consumers pay a surcharge on single-use drinks containers, which is refunded when the bottle is returned.

'Easy to use'

John MacDonald, director of vending machine suppliers, Excel Vending, said: "The reverse vending machine has a 360-degree recognition system so it will pick up the barcode, the material of the bottle and its size and dimensions.

"It's easy to use: you just insert the bottle, which is crushed, compacted and dropped into a bag at the bottom.

"The machine allows greater control of the quality of the recyclable product, which prevents it becoming contaminated and destined for landfill."

Scott Girvan, retail manager of the university's hospitality services, said: "During the trial period, we will be monitoring how people respond to the machine.

"This is part of our drive to increase sustainability and reduce waste across the university."

Reverse vending has operated in Sweden since 1984 where 90% of household waste is recycled, compared to just 44% in Scotland.

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