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Orkney Charities Reap Rewards of Recycling Return

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

4 people holding the cheque for Employability Orkney L to R Alan Dundas, Jake Milway ,Ian Robertson, Carol Taylor, Employability Orkney

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

L to R Alan Dundas, Jake Milway ,Ian Robertson, Carol Taylor, Employability Orkney. Image credit Thibault Gras, Grass Shoots Photography

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 launch, Return & Recycle Orkney has seen over 15,000 drinks containers recycled and now three local charities have benefitted from the 20p donation per container that’s gifted as part of the project.

A total of £1,276 has been generated by residents and visitors to Orkney 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 premises of Employability Orkney’s Restart Orkney second-hand furniture shop in Kirkwall.

Since the launch of the scheme, Employability Orkney have 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 much of a success we are looking at how we continue when the main deposit return scheme launches, as well as 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 ended up being incinerated.”

The success of Return & Recycle Orkney has inspired Employability Orkney to consider how it can be part of the incoming Scotland-wide deposit return scheme, and the charity has now applied be a voluntary return point come August.

A further 10 of Orkney’s charities are set to benefit from donations generated through Return & Recycle Orkney between April and August this year.

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