South Australia has had a 10c for empty plastic bottles and aluminium cans scheme for many years. When I was there in 2011 for my granddaughter’s wedding, I noted quite an industry of poor people making more than pocket money from doing a public service.
We got on a tram, and a few stops later, this obviously Down syndrome gentleman got on, carrying shopping bags holding perhaps 30 or 40 empty containers. He certainly knew recycling was worthwhile!
In March, 2018, British supermarket chain Iceland decided to trial an automated version. You pop the empty into a hole in a machine, and get a voucher you can cash in when shopping in the store.
Well, the results are in. Rebecca Smithers reports in the Guardian that it’s been a roaring success. “311,500 plastic bottles were recycled so far. In November alone a daily average of 2,583 bottles were recycled across the five sites.”
My first preference is not to have the things in the first place. I can think of all sorts of innovative ways of reducing the need for packaging, and I am not alone. For example, Denmark has a zero-packaging supermarket.
But certainly, it’s better recycled than choking nature.