Ireland’s first reverse vending machine, sponsored by Quinn Packaging and Shabra Plastics, was unveiled in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan in October. The machine is an environmental initiative launched by Carrickmacross Tidy Towns which aims to boost the recycling of plastic bottles by paying customers for every bottle deposited.

The sponsorship from Quinn Packaging and Shabra Plastics will help fund the payments in the first year and the companies will also recycle the thousands of plastic bottles expected into re-useable plastic packaging.

Speaking of Quinn’s sponsorship of the initiative, the company’s General Manager, Mark McKenna, said,

“We’re delighted to support this very important environmental initiative, which we hope will be the start of a much wider scheme to incentivise the recycling of plastic packaging.

The sponsorship fits very well with our commitment to ensuring our plastic packaging is fully recyclable and our products are made from up to 100% recycled materials. We’ve recently launched a number of new innovative products which further demonstrate this commitment, such as Detecta by Quinn and Signum by Quinn.

Carrickmacross Tidy Towns are to be congratulated on the launch of the scheme and we’re hoping they see great success which can be replicated in towns and counties throughout the country.”

The machine has been supplied by TOMRA, who have 82,000 machines in operation across more than 60 markets worldwide, including Germany, Canada and China, but this is the first in Ireland. Since the first machine was launched in Germany over 15 years ago, the reverse vending system has become commonplace in multiple European countries, with the system now a part of everyday life for many.

The machine has a database of thousands of bottles which it can identify and customers are permitted to deposit up to 20 bottles at once. Once deposited, the customer is given a 10 cent voucher for each bottle, which is redeemable at a local supermarket.

The reverse vending machine is located at Market Square Shopping Centre in Carrickmacross and locals are encouraged to support the initiative and help boost plastic recycling and reduce littering in the area.

Carrickmacross Tidy Towns Treasurer, Breda McGuigan, described the recycling process as a ‘full 360’, as plastic bottles received by the machine will be processed and remade into packaging locally.

The PET plastic bottles will be collected by Shabra Plastics, who will process them into R-PET flake, which will then be supplied to Quinn Packaging. Quinn Packaging will then use the plastic to manufacture food packaging trays which are supplied to supermarkets across the UK and Ireland.

Speaking of Quinn’s sponsorship of the initiative, she commented,

“We’re delighted to have the support of Quinn Packaging for this very important initiative. They are well known locally as a responsible manufacturer who are leading the market in developing solutions to ensure our plastic waste is fully and easily recyclable, so this partnership is a perfect fit. We’re looking forward to working with them over the next year and we’re confident that their contribution will help us achieve successful results.”