Scottish supermarket launches milk vending machine to cut down on plastic waste

'Reducing waste is really important to us'

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 05 June 2018 12:06 BST
Locavore team up with Zero Waste Scotland to talk about why its important to consider sustainability and reducing waste

When it comes to supermarket shopping, sustainability is the word du jour, with large and small chains all making efforts to be more environmentally-friendly.

However, one Glasgow-based store is ahead of the curve with its milk vending machine that enables customers to refill glass bottles with fresh milk as opposed to buying plastic cartons, a move that is set to save more than 100 plastic containers a day, an apt move given that today is World Environment Day.

Locavore is a social enterprise which initially began by offering customers vegetable deliveries with produce sourced from local farms and recently opened its first shop, offering up a sustainable and all-organic alternative to mainstream supermarkets.


“Reducing waste is really important to us,” said Eilidh Sinclaire, who is on the supermarket’s zero waste team.

“It essentially underpins everything we do,” she explained in a clip made with Zero Waste Scotland, who offered local government support to fund the store along with the Waste Prevention Implementation fund.

“It’s one of our main values to reduce our environmental impact for ourselves and also for the customers.”

The funding Locavore has received has enabled them to invest in equipment designed specifically to reduce packaging such as produce dispensers and the fresh milk vending machine.

“We’re in the pursuit of reducing packaging rather than recycling it,” said Pippa Lobban, member of Locavore’s zero waste team, who explained that the aim is to encourage customers to return to the store with their own packaging that they can refill.

Staff members on the Zero Waste team are also working with their suppliers to try and reduce the packaging in the products they give them.

"The milk vending machine lets us work directly with a local organic dairy to get really tasty un-homonginised milk to our customers without wasting plastic containers," explained Locavore's managing director, Reuben Chesters.

"Through this model we are able to pay the farmer more than double what the supermarkets do and still sell it competitively with them," he told The Independent.


In addition to fresh, organic produce, Locavore sells a range of environmentally-friendly household products.

However, it’s not just local community-focused enterprises that are advocating on eco-conscious grocery shopping experience.


Morrisons allows customers to bring their own containers to fill with produce from its meat and fish counters in a bid to reduce plastic packaging while Iceland recently installed a “reverse vending machine” which enables shoppers to return their used plastic bottles and receive a 10p voucher in exchange - a move which came after the retailer announced it would be eliminating plastic packaging from all its own brand products within five years.

Morrisons also recently announced plans to make all its packaging recyclable by 2025.

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