Many theme-park visitors in the U.S. are familiar with using bottles or cans of soda they’ve purchased to score a discounted entry to their favorite attractions. Now, the U.K. is joining in with “reverse vending machines” to reward visitors instantly for recycling. Merlin, owner and operator of several U.K. resort theme parks, has teamed up with Coca-Cola to boost recycling and combat litter pollution in the U.K.
As part of Coca-Cola’s rewards program, visitors may now deposit their finished 500 ml beverage containers into “reverse vending machines” and obtain 50 percent off vouchers in exchange for their environmental contribution.
“We want to reward people for doing the right thing by recycling their bottles and hope to encourage some people who wouldn’t otherwise have done so,” Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola U.K. and Ireland, told The Guardian.
The machines are installed at four Merlin-operated attractions: Chessington World of Adventures, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and LEGOLAND. But those who are rewarded with discounts can use their prizes at any of the 30 attractions operated by Merlin in the country. The promotion is planned to continue until mid-October, when most of the parks will shut down for the winter season.
Of the 13 billion plastic bottles sold yearly in the U.K., only 7.5 billion are recycled, according to a report by the Guardian. This initiative is hoping to shift these statistics more favorably while also eliminating the 700,000 bottles that are littered daily. “All of our bottles can be recycled, and we want to get as many of them back as possible, so they can be turned into new bottles and not end up as litter,” Woods said. According to research by Coca-Cola, 64 percent of people in the U.K. would be more inclined to recycle more if they were instantly compensated for their actions.
The move to encourage recycling at theme-parks comes after Co-op, the first retailer in the U.K. to launch deposit return trials with the reverse vending machines, reported positive feedback from its partnership with popular summer music festivals. This recycling movement will help tackle the stresses government officials face in light of growing land and marine pollution.
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