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Free pilot to trial reusable packaging in Highlands - and local businesses urged to sign up


By Philip Murray

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The Highland Community Waste Partnership (HCWP) is working with German sustainable reusable packaging system Vytal to launch the scheme and hopes 20 businesses across the area sign up.
The Highland Community Waste Partnership (HCWP) is working with German sustainable reusable packaging system Vytal to launch the scheme and hopes 20 businesses across the area sign up.

A new free Highland pilot scheme aims to cut plastic waste through the use of returnable packaging - and businesses are being urged to sign up.

The Highland Community Waste Partnership (HCWP) is working with German sustainable reusable packaging system Vytal to launch the scheme and hopes 20 businesses across the area will sign up.

Eleven billion items of packaging waste are generated each year in the UK by our on-the-go lunch habits and the Highland Community Waste Partnership aims to help reduce this, by promoting reusable alternatives as part of its #ChooseToReuse campaign.

The scheme will build on environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Highland Cup Movement campaign which used the same technology and infrastructure – saving more than 1000 single-use cups from landfill.

Businesses in both urban and remote areas are invited to sign up for a chance to try out the QR code based app, which allows customers to choose reusable packaging at the point of sale, that can then be returned to any participating business.

From cups to bowls, tubs and even pizza boxes, pilot participants will receive a pool of packaging of their choosing, as well as support with setting up and running the scheme. This will include staff training and campaign materials, to help ensure customers are engaged to use the scheme and #ChooseToReuse.

Ellie Campbell, HCWP Project Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Making the change from single-use to reusable products is essential if we are to reduce packaging waste and tackle the climate and litter emergency. Returnable packaging schemes are a key part of this, allowing for the spontaneity and convenience of food and drink on-the-go, without relying on disposable packaging or on consumers bringing their own reusables.

“This scheme will allow businesses across the Highlands to try out the system and encourage customers to #ChooseToReuse. The Highland Cup Movement was a great success in showing the potential in the area for reusable and returnable packaging products.

“I’m looking forward to seeing more businesses sign up, helping to expand on this work and bring the Highlands one step closer to more conscious, circular and sustainable models of consumption.”

Tristan Aitchison, XOKO Bakehouse and Coffee Bar, who participated in the Highland Cup Movement last summer and is now continuing with the scheme, said: “It’s really important for XOKO to reduce our single use packaging consumption because, a) it costs us money, and b) we are aware of how much single use packaging we use and so any way we can reduce that, and as a progressive business we want to reduce that any way we can, so Vytal is a key part in our moving forward to reduce single-use packaging.”

Peter Simon, Managing Director at Vytal, said: "We are excited to once again support Keep Scotland Beautiful in their effort to preserve our environment. Our commitment to sustainability perfectly aligns with the HCWP's mission to reduce waste and promote more conscious consumption. Together, we can create a cleaner, greener future for the Highland community, preserving our natural landscapes for future generations."

The pilot scheme is now open and will run until December. Any businesses interested in getting involved can find out more and sign up at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/highland-returnable-packaging.

This pilot is part of the HCWP’s Conscious Consumption campaign, with a number of initiatives designed to help businesses reduce food and packaging waste.


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