Recycling rewarded

Next January, supermarket behemoth Tesco is to rollout automated machines in nine of its Scottish stores that will reward users for recycling bottles and cans by adding reward points on their store card.



Tesco’s so-called ‘reverse vending’ machines use spectrometry and photography to identify what an object is made of before assigning it to the relevant bin.



This means that recycling the waste is easier. The unit saves fuel too: it reduces the number of vehicle journeys required to empty it by shredding and compacting the waste.



The announcement comes on the same day that new figures show Scottish recycling was up 3.3 per cent from the previous year.



Speaking at a waste conference in Glasgow, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: ‘Reverse vending has terrific potential to improve our rates of recycling and evidence from Scandinavia and Canada shows that it has reaped real rewards.’



Earlier this year, Tesco was given the go ahead to build Britain’s first ever straw-powered Combined Heat and Power plant to meet the electricity and heating needs of its Goole Distribution Centre.



The 5MW plant will work by burning straw to power a steam turbine, generating electricity. The particulates (polluting particles) are then filtered to keep them from escaping into the air. The only waste from the process is ash, which can be used by other industries or passed back to local farmers to be used as a fertiliser.



Tesco estimates that it will have recouped the £12m set up costs for the plant within six years.