Woolworths tests recycling vending machine

By Dhivana Rajgopaul Time of article published Aug 14, 2018

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DURBAN - Woolworths has introduced an in-store recycling vending machine, in line with their announcement that they are going to achieve zero packaging waste-to-landfill by 2022. 

The customer trial of the integrated reverse vending machine was launched in the company's flagship green store, Woolworths Palmyra, Claremont. 

Feroz Koor the Group Head of Sustainability for Woolworths Holdings said that it may seem like a fun innovation because it is so smart but it is actually an important trial. 

Koor said "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."

He added that it was also about supporting customers in their attempts to recycle which in turn grows South Africa's recycling industry. 

Instructions on how to use the vending machines. Photo: Supplied

The vending machine recognises recyclability by scanning the barcode on the product. The machine can also accept takeaway coffee cups with barcodes as well as glass, tin containers, plastic bottles, and containers that are up to 2,25 litres in size. 

According to Koor, the machine was first tested six months ago at the Woolworths Head Office in Cape Town. 

Besides the vending machine, the retailer is also working on other projects in order to achieve their commitment by 2022. 

According to Woolworths, they are doing initial trials with a local recycler on recycling light-weight PET packaging that is used to package products such as  salads and cake domes into materials for the automobile industry. 

Another initiative that the company has embarked on is getting rid of plastic. They have already replaced plastic straws with paper ones and by the end of the month they will stop using plastic utensils too. 

Feroz Koor - Woolworths Holdings Group Head of Sustainability showing a Palmyra customer how the recycling vendor machine works. Photo: Supplied

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