Look around any major tourist attraction with the summer as hot as this year and a fair percentage of people will be holding or drinking from a site purchased cold drinks bottle. Here in the UK it is estimated that we use a staggering 13 BILLION plastic bottles and containers a year with over 7 billion identified as disposable water bottles.
Last year the Government Environmental Audit committee looked in detail at the scale of the problem and took evidence from a wide range of interested parties. It makes sobering reading. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/339/33905.htm
One of the biggest concerns is littering with around 700,000 plastic bottles of one sort or another throw away carelessly rather placed into the waste system every single day, although against daily sales of 38 million bottles the percentage is fairly low, the physical number is far too high.
There is no one universal answer to the problem of disposable plastic bottles but certainly the partnership between Coca Cola and Merlin Entertainments, owners of attractions such as LEGOLAND and Thorpe Park is a great way to help.
For a trial period until mid-October reverse vending machines will issue discount entrance vouchers in return for 500ml drinks bottles being deposited in them. Each bottle is crushed inside the vending machine reducing its volume by 90% and by only accepting this one type of waste it makes the recycling process really straight forward as there is no mixed waste problem.
The crushing mechanism means more waste can be collected more effectively and there is a real incentive for all of us to do the right thing rather than leaving bottles at best stood down in corners for others to pick up or at worst thrown indiscriminately after the contents have been consumed.
Hopefully reverse vending machines will become a common sight leading to a cleaner nicer environment for us all to enjoy.
Written by: Colin from KSV.