CitiPark launches plastic bottle recycling initiative at flagship car park

Car park operator CitiPark has announced that it will trial a reverse vending system in its flagship facility in Leeds, offering customers discounted parking rates for bringing in plastic bottles.

Customers can exchange a 500ml bottle for a 20p discount on their parking fee. Image: CitiPark

The trial will see customers given 20p off their parking bill for each 500ml bottle they give to staff at CitiPark’s Merrion Centre location in Leeds, in a bid to incentivise recycling.

During the month-long scheme, there will be no limit to the number of bottles each customer can exchange at a time. The car park operates on a pay-per-hour pay method, meaning that the longer a customer uses the facility for, the more bottles they will need to exchange to park for free.

Once the bottles are collected by CitiPark staff, they will be sent to be upcycled into fabrics that will be used to make clothing or used to manufacture new plastic toys and furniture. 

CitiPark’s parent company Town Centre Securities’ head of CSR, Charlotte-Daisy Ziff, said the initiative would mark a “win-win” for customers and the environment.

“Here at CitiPark, we believe that we all have a part to play in ensuring the preservation and betterment of our environment for future generations,” Ziff said.

“This promotion not only offers our customers the chance of free or discounted parking, but they can also get rid of their waste plastic bottles and contribute to the protection of the environment at the same time.”

The initiative, which will run until the end of October, follows on from CitiPark’s move to use an emissions-based parking tariff scheme at its Clipstone Street branch in Central London.

Since September 2017, the company has used licence plate recognition software to calculate the emissions generated by each vehicle that enters the car park, offering those which release 75g or less of CO2 per kilometre travelled discounted rates.

Reverse vending is trending

CitiPark is the latest company to trial deposit return initiatives for plastic bottles in recent months, after the Government announced it would consult on the feasibility of introducing a nationwide scheme earlier this year. 

Tesco last week announced plans to trial in-store reverse vending machines for plastic bottles at its stores in Borehamwood, Swansea, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham, for example. The supermarket joins the likes of the Co-op and Morrisons in trialling the scheme, after Iceland became the first UK retailer to undertake such a trial in May. 

Elsewhere, Coca-Cola Great Britain is offering 50% discounts to UK attractions such as Thorpe Park, Alton Towers and Legoland in exchange for used plastic drinks bottles.

At present, just 43% of the 13 billion plastic bottles sold each year in the UK are recycled, and 700,000 are littered every day. In stark contrast, a return scheme was introduced in Germany in 2003 and 99% of plastic bottles are now recycled there.

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