Container Recycling Reverse Vending Machines Set For Trial In Melbourne's West

21 June 2016

Thirsty consumers are comfortable buying drinks from vending machines, but now reverse vending machines will take the empty bottle back.

The City of Wyndham in Melbourne's outer west are planning a trial of the machines which exchange empty cans and bottles for promotional vouchers.

Peter McKinnon, the council's manager of environment and sustainability, said there were a number of the machines around Australia but they were not common in Victoria.

"We think we're the first municipal council [in Victoria] to run and install these machines," he told 774 ABC Melbourne's Rafael Epstein.

He said a single machine could hold up to 2,000 bottles or cans.

"The machines are built for aluminium cans or plastic bottles, so your normal water bottles up to two litres in size."

Vouchers, not cash, for cans

Unlike South Australia's container deposit scheme, the machines will not pay consumers for their empty bottles.

"There's no cash involved here," Mr McKinnon said.

Instead the machines would reward users with a voucher for a local attraction or an entry in a competition.

Mr McKinnon said a machine at the aquatic centre might grant a voucher for pool entry or use of the gymnasium.

"This is about just trying to get the recycling message out there in a new and innovative way," he said.

Trial in planning stage

Mr McKinnon said Wyndham council was in the "preliminary planning stages" of the reverse vending machine trial.

"This is all part of a waste strategy that council adopted roughly about three to four weeks ago," he said.

The trial would see up to four of the machines installed in public places around Wyndham.

"We're looking at activity centres, so shopping centres," Mr McKinnon said.

"We want to put one at our major aquatic facility, also our sports stadium."


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