Co-op Is Installing 'Reverse Vending Machines' To Recycle Waste At Festivals | TOTUM
Ben HaywardAugust 3rd

Co-op has confirmed that not only will it host ‘reverse vending machines’ for plastic bottles and drinks cans at music festivals this summer, it will also recycle the collected materials into uniforms for staff!

Back in 2018 Co-op became the first UK retailer to host pop-up reverse vending machines - which enable automated collecting, sorting and handling of used plastic containers at Download, Latitude, Reading and Leeds festivals. 

Due to Covid, the vast majority of festivals didn’t take place last year, but with several going ahead this year, Co-op has confirmed that Latitude, Leeds, Reading, Creamfields and the Isle of Wight Festival will se the return of the recycling machines. 


But this year there’s a twist - the machines have been supplied by recycled corporate clothing and merchandise supplier Reborn.

So, while aluminium cans will be recycled and sent for reuse elsewhere, collected plastic will be shredded and turned into pellets which Reborn will then use to manufacture Co-op uniform items like t-shirts and fleeces, as well as umbrellas, worktops and furniture for Co-op to use internally and at future events.

To raise awareness of the reverse vending offer at the festivals, Co-op staff will be wearing recycled t-shirts and hoodies specially made for the events, with the 2,450 items of clothing containing 18,000 recycled plastic bottles.

Co-op’s director of marketing experience, Amanda Jennings, said. “Festival-goers have previously responded well to the reverse vending machines in our pop-up stores and it’s fantastic that we now have a festival-themed closed-loop system in place for the bottles and cans we collect.”


Reborn’s founder Zak Johnson added: “After facing a global pandemic, the whole world is extremely conscious of cleanliness, and as such, there will likely be an increase in single-use plastic usage.

“It’s really encouraging to see big businesses like Co-op increasingly focus on sustainability and do their part to turn this plastic waste into something useful and long-lasting.”

Co-op has already announced plans to roll out an in-store collection scheme for plastic bags and other flexible plastics to 1,500 stores, following a successful trial in 2020, and has pledged to ensure 100% recyclability for own-brand lines by the end of this year.

Don’t forget that TOTUM members get 10% off in store every time they shop at Co-op! 

NOTE: This article contains affiliate links, which will earn the site a commission if the product is purchased.

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