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Orkney charities reap rewards of recycling return

Publication: The Orkney News

Left to Right: Alan Dundas, Jake Milway ,Ian Robertson, Carol Taylor, Employability Orkney. Image credit: Thibault Gras, Grass Shoots Photography
Left to Right: Alan Dundas, Jake Milway, Ian Robertson, Carol Taylor, Employability Orkney. Photo by Thibault Gras, Grass Shoots Photography | Licensed for use on Scottish Beacon | All rights reserved

The first donations from Orkney’s recycling-return scheme have resulted in £1,200 given to local causes, with over 15,000 bottles and cans returned since the November launch.

“Return & Recycle Orkney has made a positive impact. As a charity, we are focused on getting people back into employment through our social enterprise Restart Orkney. ” Ian Robertson

The Return and Recycle Orkney initiative began in November and precedes the launch of the Scotland-wide deposit return scheme in August this year.

Delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, it has been recognised as a key milestone in Scotland’s deposit return journey, providing valuable insights to help shape the way the scheme is rolled out to rural and island communities and enabling Orcadians to try out the machines that will be used under deposit return.

In the five months since its launch, Return & Recycle Orkney has seen over 15,000 drinks containers recycled. Three local charities have benefitted from the 20p donation per container gifted in the project.

Residents and visitors to Orkney have generated a total of £1,276 simply by feeding the Return & Recycle Orkney reverse vending machines with their cans and bottles.

The local charities benefiting so far are:

  • Mind On £311.20
  • Peedie Retreat £365.40
  • Employability Orkney £600.20

The two reverse vending machines are hosted at Employability Orkney’s Restart, Orkney’s second-hand furniture shop in Kirkwall.

Since the scheme’s launch, Employability Orkney has seen many benefits of becoming a voluntary return point.

Ian Robertson, Employment Supervisor at Employability Orkney, said:

“The initiative has enabled us to take on an extra employee, our RVM Assistant. We have also noticed that there has been an increase in the footfall to our shop. Importantly, this has been people who may not have previously visited us. The project has been so successful that we are looking at how we continue when the main deposit return scheme launches and how we can add more recycling, such as batteries. This fits into our ethos of protecting the environment by selling or re-purposing donated items, many of which would otherwise have been incinerated.”

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