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Morrisons trials plastic deposit return scheme in supermarkets

A worker at Morrisons’ Skipton store trials one of the new reverse vending machines for plastic bottles (Morrisons/PA)

Supermarket chain Morrisons is trialling vending machines for the return of single-use plastic bottles to reduce their impact on the environment.

The two reverse vending machines will be in the retailer’s stores in Skipton, North Yorkshire, and Lindsayfield, East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, for six months and will allow customers to deposit bottles in return for points coupons.

The machines accept all plastic bottles that have a barcode and Morrisons own-brand bottles that may not have one.

Customers can return a maximum of 20 bottles a day and receive 100 Morrisons More points in the form of a coupon which can be spent in store for each one.

They can also choose to donate a 10p cash alternative to the supermarket’s charity partner, CLIC Sargent.

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Morrisons said it will be listening to customers during the trial to understand their response to the machines and how they can be used to reduce the impact of plastic on the environment.

The move comes as ministers from across the UK agreed on a set of principles for the design of schemes aimed at encouraging more people to recycle drinks cans and bottles.

Morrisons group corporate services director Andrew Clappen said: “We want to play our part in making sure plastic bottles are collected and recycled.

“We’ll listen to customers as they use these machines.”

The scheme follows a number of moves by Morrisons to reduce customers’ use of plastic, such as the reintroduction of brown paper bags for loose fruit and vegetables, allowing shoppers to use their own containers for meat and fish, and removing any unnecessary plastic packaging.

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Friends of the Earth plastics campaigner Julian Kirby said: “Deposit schemes for plastic bottles are a welcome initiative, and are one of the ways that stores can work with customers to reduce the plastic that ends up in landfill and incinerators, or pollutes our environment.

“But supermarkets are a significant source of plastic pollution and they need to do far more to reduce plastics use if they really want to be greener grocers.

“Ultimately we need to phase out all but the most essential plastics if we are to end the scourge of plastic pollution that’s damaging our wildlife.

“The Government must take the lead to ensure this happens.”