Swire Group

Machines to take back empty Coke bottles

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 February, 2007, 12:00am

Environmentally friendly 'reverse' vending machines have hit town to encourage bottle recycling.

About 50 machines will accept used Coca-Cola bottles and add about 10 cents on the Octopus card of the person who deposits them.

They will be installed at housing estates later this year. Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong launched the first eight 'every bottle counts' machines yesterday.

Immediately, Octopus reward points can be earned by returning plastic bottles to the eight machines located in Ocean Park, Our Lady of the Rosary College in Kowloon Tong, and four properties managed by the Housing Society. No points will be awarded for bottles produced by other companies.

Raymond Cheng, plant operations director of Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong, said the company had spent three years and HK$1 million developing the machine.

'Reverse vending machines have been popular in Europe, but we have come up with the world's first patented reverse vending machine with non-contact, smart card rewards,' Mr Cheng said.

The machine is made of recycled components from common vending machines. It records a bottle's bar code before compressing it.

Environmental Protection Department principal officer Lawrence Wong Tung-kong said the introduction of the reverse vending machines could encourage more people to participate in recycling.

'Such machines may provide a new incentive through material rewards,' he said.