Hackney Council first in UK to install ‘reverse vending machine’ on an estate

Cllr Jon Burke and Jeannette White from the estate's tenants and residents' association.

Cllr Jon Burke and Jeannette White from the estate's tenants and residents' association. - Credit: Archant

Not content with the biggest tree planting and water fountain projects in the UK, Hackney is now the first council to install a “reverse vending machine” on an estate.

People on the Hoxton estate, which isn't being revealed, will be able to get vouchers in exchange for recycling cans and plastic bottles, billions of which are thrown away in the UK each year and either landfilled, incinerated or littered.

The machine will be installed as part of a trial with the estate's tenants and residents' association.

The council will assess its impact on recycling, such as whether it reduces the amount of black bag waste sent for incineration and therefore the carbon footprint of Hackney's waste system.

The pilot will also help establish how any future government proposals to introduce similar schemes might work in the borough.

Anyone who does deposit their bottles and cans will be able to claim money off at two nearby shops.

Town hall environment and waste chief Cllr Jon Burke said: "While recycling is by no means the complete solution to our hugely wasteful system of consumption, it is far preferable to the alternative methods of disposal."

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Sainsbury's launched a reverse vending trial in its supermarkets this summer, but Cllr Burke said housing estates and developments have "significant potential" to improve recycling in an environment where people are visiting supermarkets less.

It follows the announcement last week that the council will be planting thousands of trees in a £4million project, as it looks to get the borough's tree canopy cover up to 30 or 40 per cent.

It is also installing 26 new water fountains by 2022, in the biggest programme of its kind in the country, and has launched its own energy company.

All are part of the council's ambitions to deliver net zero emissions across all of its functions by 2040, a pledge made when a climate emergency motion was passed in February.

That date is 10 years earlier than the government target and in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) "higher confidence threshold" for limiting global warming to 1.5C.

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