Local News

13 Orkney Charities Benefitted from Return & Recycle Scheme

The Return and Recycle Scheme located at Employability Re-Start Orkney, will come to an end on 31st of August.

The scheme awarded more than £8,500 to 13 charities in the islands.

At a time when funding has been very tight for all charities and organisation , the funds from this scheme , just by people depositing their bottles and cans, has been a great boost locally.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“It is fantastic to see Return & Recycle Orkney so clearly embraced by the local Orkney community. The initiative, hosted by Employability Orkney, has demonstrated what a voluntary return point could look like when Scotland’s deposit return scheme begins and the value of community engagement in changing behaviour.

“Initiatives like Return & Recycle Orkney, as well as deposit return schemes around the world, can drive meaningful behaviour change, encouraging us all to do the right thing by attaching a value to products previously seen as waste. It’s vital that we change our attitude towards single-use products if we’re serious about tackling the climate crisis.”

Anna Johnstone - Peedie Retreat Orkney and another holding cheque
Anna Johnstone – Peedie Retreat Orkney. Image credit: Thibault Gras, Grass Shoots Photography

The launch of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme is delayed until at least October 2025. Archived story: ‘Through a Glass Darkly’ – Is Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme Scuppered?

In Orkney over 46,000 plastic bottles, cans and glass bottles via two reverse vending machines, have been deposited. Citizens chose which Orkney based charity they donate to as for every container returned, a 20p donation is made to the charity selected.

From 1st September, recycling plastic bottles, cans and glass bottles will be through the kerbside recycling collection or at the nearest recycling centre.

Employability Orkney, which has hosted the initiative, is a charity that provides supported employment, training and volunteering opportunities for those with a barrier to gaining employment. They also run the social enterprise Restart that sells good quality items for reuse.

The Community Payback Team built a storage unit to enable citizens to drop off empty drinks containers for recycling at Employability Orkney outside business hours. The unit was made from reclaimed wood, including the crates the reverse vending machines arrived in.

A final cheque presentation event will be held early September for the remaining charity recipients of the initiative.

Evidence from Return & Recycle Orkney will help shape the way Scotland’s deposit return scheme is rolled out to rural and island communities. Meanwhile, feedback from Employability Orkney will inform support for other third sector organisations interested in becoming a voluntary return point.

4 people holding the cheque for Employability Orkney L to R Alan Dundas, Jake Milway ,Ian Robertson, Carol Taylor, Employability Orkney
Image credit: Thibault Gras, Grass Shoots Photography L to R Alan Dundas, Jake Milway ,Ian Robertson, Carol Taylor, Employability Orkney

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