Frozen food retailer Iceland extends plastic bottle collection scheme

Photo by Iceland Reverse vending machine at the Iceland store in Fulham, London

Frozen food retailer Iceland has installed five ‘reverse vending machines’ for the collection of used plastic bottles. To date, the collection centres have received 311,500 plastic bottles for recycling.

The machines were installed in support of the company’s own efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastics. Iceland has pledged to remove all plastic packaging from its own-label products by 2023.

Stores which feature the new machines are located in Wolverhampton, Mold, Fulham and Musselburgh. A fifth machine has been installed at Iceland’s head office in Deeside. In November, a daily average of 2,583 bottles were recycled across the five sites.

For each bottle deposited, customers receive a 10p Iceland coupon. The trial scheme is wholly funded by Iceland; there has been no change to the retail price of the products. In November, an average £250 in coupons were produced each day.

In addition, 40 interviews were conducted across the trial stores to better understand consumer perceptions and interest in the government’s proposed Deposit Return Scheme. Monetary rewards, environmental concerns, additional recycling potential and assured recycling were all listed as key factors influencing the use of the scheme.

Speaking about the trial installations, Richard Walker, managing director at Iceland, commented: “We’ve gained hugely valuable insights into both consumer interest and the functionality of the schemes, and it’s clear from the results that consumers want to tackle the problem of plastic head on, and would be in support of a nationwide scheme.”

He continued: “We’ll be using these findings to inform future Iceland initiatives and will be sharing our findings with DEFRA and across the industry to ensure any nationwide roll-outs are comprehensive and effective in our goal of tackling the issue of single-use plastics.”

Iceland launched the programme in May 2018. The retailer is now planning to extend the trials for a further six months to assess the potential for a national roll out of the scheme.