Glasgow Airport introduces Reverse Vending Machines

Just before start of COP26

Glasgow Airport is running a trial of what it calls Reverse Vending Machines.

Shopper pay a deposit when buying a bottle or can and get it back when they put the bottle or can in the machine. Reverse Vending Machines are normal in many countries.

During November 2021 two machines will be available at the airport for passengers and staff to return their cans and bottles.

They will be based on the first-floor area next to the e-gate entrance to the security hall and in the main area of the departure lounge. The machines can each accept 320 plastic bottles and 650 cans.

The airport hopes to boost recycling by passengers and staff within the airport by providing a dedicated return point for cans and bottles. Maybe they’ll have to put in a machine just for Irn-Bru.

Kirsty Webster, Sustainability Manager at Glasgow Airport:

“AGS Airports Ltd launched its Sustainability Strategy earlier this summer and as a Group we are committed to continuing our policy of diverting 100% of our non-hazardous waste away from landfill and to incorporate circular economy principals where possible to enhance and encourage sustainable development at our airports.

“One of the key aims of our strategy is to ban all unavoidable single-use products within the airport by 2022. We’ve made great progress in this area already with the introduction of a number of water refill stations within the airport as well as pre-security sinks where passenger can empty their water bottles and carry them through security rather than just dispose of them.

“The introduction of the Reverse Vending Machines further compliments the work already being done to reduce unnecessary waste and will help ensure cleaner, better-quality recycling and encourage passengers and staff to recycle even more.”

I flew out of Glasgow Airport last month. It was almost deserted yet I had a lot of trouble finding a working water refill station. Let’s hope things improve for COP26.

The trial is running in November to coincide with the COP26 summit on climate change in Glasgow.

In 2022 the devolved Scottish administration is forcing shoppers to pay a deposit of 20p when buying a drink in a bottle or can. The shopper gets the money back by returning the container to a collection point.

Although the scheme isn’t live until next year, Glasgow Airport is donating 5p for each bottle or can deposited in the machines during the trial to an environmentally-theme charity or project.


The machines come from Biffa, a leading UK waste management company.

N.B. Image credit: Glasgow Airport

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Glasgow Airport (GLA)