Tesco Pilots Deposit Return Scheme for Plastic Bottles

Supermarket plastic bottle recycling scheme

You don't have to be Einstein to work out that more plastic bottles being recycled = less plastic waste going to landfill or ending up in our oceans. So, if you want some free cash and Tesco is your retailer of choice, then this article is for you.

The good news is that they're now trialing in-store recycling machines that will give you 10p for every plastic bottle you return to them as part of a new scheme to cut down on plastic waste. This follows on from the supermarket's aim to ban all non-recyclable plastic packaging by 2019.

The bad news is that at the moment, it's a pilot scheme and is only being trialed at a select number of Tesco stores. These are:

  • Birmingham
  • Borehamwood (Herts)
  • Edinburgh
  • Manchester
  • Swansea

If the trial is a success, we could see it rolled out up and down the country although it's unclear whether or not this would also eventually apply to their smaller "Tesco Express" outlets.

If you're a big user of plastic bottles perhaps because you buy plenty of bottled spring water, then you'll need to take note of current restrictions; you'll only be able to take back a maximum of 10 plastic bottles per day. This means you obviously won't be able to trawl the streets collecting all your neighbours' discarded bottles for some easy cash!

What types of plastic bottles can I deposit?

From what we can see, the machine will be able to accept all kinds of plastic bottles, except those which are "own brand" from other supermarkets, although it's unclear how the new machines can distinguish between the two.

Other schemes

Like many of the UK's supermarkets that are now rolling out various plastic-saving initiatives, Tesco has recently introduced a "bring your own container" incentive that applies to their Deli Counter. This entails customers being able to bring in one of their own plastic containers with a sealable lid that can be filled and taken back home with them (glass, metal and cardboard ones aren't allowed).

It's hoped that schemes like this will help curb the enormous number of plastic bottles that we already throw away each year, which is estimated at around 3 billion out of the 13 billion that are purchased from our shops. As you'd expect, Tesco's new scheme is likely to be quite popular; not just for the 10p that shoppers will get for each plastic bottle, but also because the public, in general, is now more keen on recycling than ever before.

Public appetite for recycling

With the penny finally dropping about the long-term dangers of plastic waste, polls now show that we really do have a genuine, clear desire to recycle more of the plastic we use. According to a recent YouGov poll, 74% of those who took part were in favour of deposit return schemes for aluminium tin cans and plastic bottles.

In a widely cited quote, Tesco’s UK and ROI CEO Jason Tarry said:

We would urge the government to move to a single, nationwide approach to waste collection that makes it much easier for people to recycle.

At Expert Skip Hire, we agree with this sentiment - We already collect huge amounts of rubbish that could be recycled beforehand, and if recycling was made easier for the consumer, we suspect we'd see a lot less.

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