Morrisons has introduced reverse vending machines into two stores to trial the return of single use plastic bottles and listen to customers about how they work for them.

Reverse vending machines reward individuals for recycling, by providing money or vouchers in return for empty plastic bottles.

Morrisons will be listening to customers during the trial, initially for six months, which aims to understand their response to this technology and how it can be used to reduce the impact of plastic on the environment.

The machines, at its Skipton and Lindsayfield stores, are already operational, and accept all plastic bottles that have a barcode and Morrisons own brand bottles that may not have one.

Customers can return a maximum of 20 bottles a day and receive 100 Morrisons More points in the form of a coupon for each one brought back which can then be spent in store.

Alternatively, customers can choose to donate the cash alternative (10 pence) to the supermarket's charity partner, CLIC Sargent.

The move comes as the Scottish Government intends to introduce a deposit return scheme for single use drinks containers. Zero Waste Scotland is currently leading the design of this change and consulting with various bodies before proposing a scheme.

Andrew Clappen, Morrisons group corporate services director said: "We want to play our part in making sure plastic bottles are collected and recycled. We'll listen to customers as they use these machines."

This latest move follows a number of steps Morrisons is taking to reduce plastic use, which include:

  • Bringing back traditional brown paper bags for loose fruit and veg in its greengrocery area in a move that will prevent 150m small plastic bags from being used every year
  • Allowing customers to use their own containers for meat and fish from the Morrisons' Market Street Butcher and Fishmonger counters from May.
  • Working through all of its own brand products to identify, reduce and remove any unnecessary plastic packaging.
  • Trialling the effect of removing plastic packaging from fruit and vegetables in a number of stores. The aim is to look at how plastic packaging, which keeps food fresh, can be reduced without increasing food waste.
  • Taking more packaging recyclable. One of the first pieces of packaging to be replaced will be black plastic trays, used for fresh meat and fish. They will be phased out by the end of 2019.
  • Fitting drinking water fountains into new stores. Morrisons has already made water freely available in its cafes for customers who want to refill their water bottles.

Morrisons is also committing that by no later than 2025 all of its own-brand plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Published 12/07/2018


For further information contact: Morrisons Press Office – 0845 611 5111