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Merlin and Coca-Cola GB award winning 'reverse vending machine' initiative

In November,  Merlin Entertainments and Coca-Cola Great Britain won The Fellowship Award at The Corporate Entrepreneur Awards for their reverse vending machine initiative. 

Voted for by the public, the award celebrates collaboration and doing things differently. The project was also a finalist in the Rising Star Award category.

In 2018 Merlin Entertainments and Coca-Cola joined forces to encourage consumers to recycle more bottles by instantly rewarding with 50% off entry tickets to top UK attractions. The first-ever reverse vending machines were installed at Merlin attractions such as Alton Towers Resort, THORPE PARK Resort, Chessington World of Adventures Resort and LEGOLAND Windsor Resort, to encourage the recycling of any plastic bottle.

The key objective was to improve the accessibility of recycling facilities, rewarding people for recycling more and also encouraging people who wouldn’t otherwise have done so. Coca Cola’s research revealed 64% of Brits would recycle more on-the-go if they were instantly rewarded.

The #WorldWithoutWaste campaign was the first in the UK to offer people a more valuable reward than the original purchasing price of the plastic drinks bottle they recycle. By installing fourteen reverse vending machines across the UK’s best-known attractions, we were able to engage and educate a wide range of people in the recycling agenda, from families through to groups of friends.

To date over 26,000 bottles have been crushed and recycled with over 18,000 discounted tickets to visit Merlin’s attractions issued. The campaign has taken the focus from government debates back to the industry leading the way on recycling.

Building on this year’s success, Merlin’s and Coca-Cola's sustainability partnership continues with more reverse vending machines to be installed throughout the UK next year, including at Merlin’s Bear Grylls Adventure Birmingham and SEA LIFE Aquariums.