West Suffolk Council and West Suffolk College spearhead innovative recycling initiative

29 Feb 2024

Image of Trovr Vending Machine at West Suffolk College

West Suffolk Council has partnered with Eastern Education Group to deliver a reverse vending machine at the West Suffolk College site. 

The council is the first in the country to get behind such an initiative and are working with the college to encourage and educate young people to increase recycling.

Trovr, the company behind the machines, uses a smartphone app to incentivise recycling through points-based rewards which can then be spent in local and national businesses. The goal is to increase recycling rates and reduce litter.

A partnership comprising of West Suffolk Council, Eastern Education Group, Love Newmarket Business Improvement District (BID), The Guineas Shopping Centre, Abbeycroft Leisure, Our Bury St Edmunds BID and Trovr have worked to deliver four reverse vending machines; two in Bury St Edmunds and two Newmarket.

West Suffolk Council has invested £3,000 towards the six-month trial, with further funding secured from both the Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds BIDs. The Eastern Education Group are contributing ‘in-kind’ by providing a location and power, as well as the responsibility for cleaning and emptying the machines.

The machine has already been a huge hit with the students and staff alike, within the first week almost 150 units have been recycled. 

Sam Fogarty, Sustainability Student Ambassador at West Suffolk College, said: "I honestly think it is such a genius invention that will go far in the world. I have seen people use the machine and I use it whenever I have a plastic bottle available. I believe the reward system will encourage people to start recycling because it gives back to you, and you’re rewarded for doing something that is helping the environment little by little.”

The UK government has announced that from 2025, a Deposit Return Scheme is to be introduced across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. By working with Trovr, West Suffolk College students will be ahead of the curve in using such a scheme.

Cllr Gerald Kelly, Cabinet Member for Governance and Regulatory at West Suffolk Council said: “This is a trailblazing scheme for West Suffolk Council and partners to support. Through working with the College, it is hoped to encourage the students to think about their environmental impact and instil the habit of recycling across their day to day lives. Empowering young minds with information and incentives to recycle not only fosters individual responsibility but also serves as a catalyst for broader societal change.

“Building on our past successes, such as the Solar for Business scheme, we are delighted to further our support for the college's sustainable endeavours, reinforcing our commitment to environmental resilience.”

Julia Wakelam, governor at the Eastern Education Group, said: “I am excited by this project and delighted that Trovr, working with West Suffolk Council, have chosen the College as one of the first places in England to launch this project.

“We know that recycling valuable materials such as aluminium and tin is an important part of our fight to preserve our environment and halt climate change. The Trovr app will help remind and reward us for not forgetting to recycle – creating another step along the path to sustainability.”

A spokesperson for the Eastern Education Group said: “We are delighted to be part of this new recycling initiative. Our mission is to work collaboratively to adopt and speed up sustainability across all of our colleges and campuses.

“Therefore, it’s great that we are one of only four sites in the UK to pilot this revolutionary new reverse vending machine scheme. It will help engage our students to continue to join us on our sustainable journey.”

The new reverse recycling machines can be found outside The Guineas Shopping Centre, Newmarket Leisure Centre, and West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds. A fourth machine will be installed in Bury St Edmunds town centre once a site has been secured.

Posted in categories: press release, news, environmental-news

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