Woolworths has made further leaps in its sustainability manifesto by trialing a new recycling vending machine in its store at Palmyra Junction in Claremont, Cape Town. The product acts like a reverse vending machine where customers can dispose of their recyclables.
Takeaway coffee cups, glass containers, tin cans, juice cartons and plastic bottles (up to 2.25 litres) are accepted by the machine. It works by scanning the barcodes on the items and determining their recyclability. It will either accept or reject waste items based on their recyclability.
The recycling vending machine is ready for the public
The machine was trialled for six months at the Woolworths head office in Cape Town, where employees’ recycling efforts were used to refine and amend the database of waste items and their barcodes. The machine accepts Woolworths products and many other popular brands.
“It might seem like a fun innovation because it’s so smart, but this is actually an important trial,” says the head of sustainability at Woolworths Holdings Group Feroz Koor. “Packaging plays a vital role in protecting products. The effort to reduce pollution is not just about finding the ways to minimise packaging in a responsible way; it is also about supporting consumers’ in their efforts to recycle, which in turn, boosts the country’s recycling industry,” he adds.
How the machine helps with recycling
These recycling vending machines have already become commonplace in certain European countries. The consumer can log into the recycling machine as a user, via their smartphone, and deposit clean, barcoded recyclables. Once an item has been scanned and deposited, the user will receive an SMS notification thanking them for their deposit.
A local recycling or waste management provider will be automatically notified when the machine is nearing capacity. The waste company will then collect the recyclables directly from the machine and take them away for processing.
The machine helps customers with their waste reduction
“We are very proud to introduce our first in-store recycling vending machine. We know from customer surveys and social media conversations that there many customers concerned about reducing waste and we hope they will be keen to put the recycling vending machine through its paces so that it can be perfected and rolled out to more stores,” says Koor.
“Our Palmyra store is where we have trialled the majority of our green initiatives so we are looking forward to enthusiastic customer engagement,” he explains. The launch of the recycling machine is yet another step in Woolworths’ plan to achieve zero packaging waste by 2022.
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