With the Residential and Business Services (RBS) side to the Uni looking to heavily curb their plastic impacts, a recent decision to bring a reverse vending machine to St Andrews is one of the first big steps they are taking to ‘put their money where their mouth is’. This machine aims to get people recycling their plastic by incentivising them with a pseudo-deposit return system. The difference is that instead of the money going back to those who use the machine, the users will get the opportunity to decide a charity for the money to be sent to. The library is where this will be based in the hopes to tackle our collective waste.

In Sweden reverse vending machines are widely used and have been established as a popular means recycling. To the point where Sweden boasts a massive 90% of its waste recycled.

And an influential power-house behind this (and many of the plans to tackle RBS’ waste) is Deborah Leitch, Retail Manager. Her visit to the manufacturers of the reverse vending machine a couple of a few weeks ago was reported with a smile and two thumbs up. You can see some of the photos Deborah has taken during her visit just below. Since then RBS has officially made the order and we intend to see this machine in action in about 8 weeks time.


The University of St Andrews has definitely built up a lot of expectation around their aims to be both zero carbon and zero waste. However, to many, myself included, this often feels like a lot of talking and not enough walking. But I’ve come round to feel heaps more optimistic about where things are heading. The real issue is that plans, changes and actions are not shouted about enough! Stay tuned into our blogs to get the updates. The next step, an onsite composter for all our food waste – that would be a huge step!