The Wimbledon Tennis Championship took sustainability to a higher level this year with its first reverse vending machine for recycling plastic bottles, provided by Norwegian multinational recycling solutions corporation TOMRA.

The reverse vending machine was located at the Southern Village of Wimbledon’s new sustainability demonstration space, Wimbledon 2030 and was available for use throughout the duration of the tournament. Wimbledon said that the space aimed to inspire fans with a vision of a more sustainable future for the tennis club.

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The machine accepted all plastic bottles, including those not bought within the grounds, which  TOMRA said was to help recycling and reduce littering across the site. The machine also tracked the number of bottles collected for closed-loop recycling, with the data to be used in a Wimbledon recycling report by environmental charity RECOUP.

TOMRA Collection Solutions UK & Ireland managing director Truls Haug said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity for our leading reverse vending technology to be used on such a high-profile stage, in line with Wimbledon’s ambition to increase recycling this year.

“It’s exciting to be part of encouraging sustainable habits for the future at the world’s oldest tennis tournament.

“The Championships are hugely committed to protecting the environment whenever possible and we believe that the presence of our reverse vending machine represented a significant step towards further realising those sustainability ambitions.”

UK public attractions turn to reverse vending machines

As consumers become more eco-conscious and the rising war on plastic debate grips the nation, events and attractions across the UK are introducing reverse vending machine systems to help tackle attendee waste.

Earlier this month, TOMRA partnered with UK retailer Co-op to improve festival sustainability by launching a deposit-return scheme (DRS) trial with reverse vending machines at Co-op pop-up stores at seven major UK music festivals this summer.

Last year, Coca-Cola Great Britain and Coca-Cola European Partners, in partnership with Merlin Entertainments, launched a trial of reverse vending machines at UK theme parks, to encourage recycling on-the-go.