New augmented reality app aims to increase milk bottle recycling

Shoppers can now scan Asda milk bottles to find out how to correctly recycle them

With reducing plastic waste high on shoppers’ agendas, supermarket Asda and farmer-owned dairy cooperative Arla have joined forces on a new augmented-reality app to help customers recycle more.

The ‘Have You Herd?’ app, launching this week as part of National Recycling Week, uses an engaging augmented reality experience to inform shoppers about recycling their milk bottles correctly.

An animated milk bottle character comes to life when shoppers hover the app in front of any Asda milk bottle, which then links to a short video explaining how to rinse and recycle their bottle – namely to wash, squash and leave the cap on.

Customers can also scan the barcode to activate a ‘totaliser’, to see how many bottles they have personally recycled and how many all Asda shoppers have recycled to date. As they hit certain milestones, shoppers will be able to share infographics on social media to show they are doing their bit and encourage others to do the same.

Despite being made of one of the most recyclable plastics, it’s estimated that around 20% of milk bottles are not currently collected for recycling. Using Asda sales alone, this means each year over 50 million milk bottles that could be recycled are not.

The move is the latest in Asda’s drive to use less and recycle more plastic. In February this year, it outlined its plans, including reducing own brand plastic packaging by an initial 10% by February 2019 and making its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. It’s also working with experts at Leeds Beckett University to look at future alternatives to plastic.

Nikki Dixon, Senior Manager for Plastic Reduction at Asda, said: “Milk is one of our biggest selling products and while the percentage of bottles recycled is good compared to some other lines, even a small increase will make a huge difference. We hope that by engaging customers through this new technology, we can continue to educate and drive awareness on the correct way to recycle – every bottle counts!”

The ‘Have You Herd?’ app is available on Google Play and the App Store.

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