British food retailer Co-op is set to trial a bottle deposit return scheme (DRS) in the UK this summer as part of its commitment to curb marine pollution and step up recycling efforts.
Under the plan, the retailer will set up a number of reverse vending machines at pop-up stores at four music festivals in the UK.
The supermarket chain has partnered with Festival Republic to install the vending machines on-site at the Download, Latitude, Reading and Leeds festivals taking place throughout the summer.
The DRS scheme involves the collection of bottles for recycling at each festival and the creation of new bottles for Co-op’s own brand bottled water.
Co-op Retail CEO Jo Whitfield said: “As the UK’s leading ethical retailer there’s nowhere better for us to start our trial of reverse vending machines than at some of the UK’s most well-loved festivals.
“Reducing the amount of plastic that makes its way to landfill is really important to us and our members.
“I’m excited that, in partnership with Live Nation and Recycling Options, we have the opportunity to bring these machines to the UK only a few months after they were officially given the green light by the government.”
The company said that bottles sold at its pop-up stores will have a mandatory deposit added to their price.
Customers buying plastic bottles in stores can return them to the reverse vending machine in order to claim a voucher to spend in Co-op stores.
Co-op aims to make all of its own-brand packaging recyclable by 2025 and backed a recently-proposed DRS in the UK.