Vending machines are super convenient but how do they scope on the eco-friendly front? The machine runs on electricity, full time, to keep food or drink hot or cold. Not a great start. Hot drinks require disposable cups. Dum dum. Okay but that's something we can do improve and for the sake of coffee fiends and snackers on the run across the UK, thankfully someone already has.
The Save a Cup scheme started with the intention to help the vending industry take some of the responsibility for creating a more sustainable environment. It is now estimated that five billion polystyrene cups are used in the UK each year and the number of vending machines being installed in the work place is increasing. The good things is Save a Cup collect the discarded polystyrene cups (there's up to 20,000 tonnes of these cups made per year that are potentially available for recycling) and turn them into non-food related items like CD cases, coat hangers and garden containers. Save a Cup will collect the cups from the site on a regular basis and take them to a plastic recycling plant so it really couldn't be easier for the company or business who rents the vending machine.
A vending machine can also be recycled at the end of its life. The WEEE
(Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive offer a collection scheme to help owners dispose of their old machines responsibly. Parts are then re-used in new machines. If they cannot be re-used then the plastic casing and wooden base units are recycled and the metals like copper and goal from the electrical components are reused. You can pretty much recycle 95% of an old vending machine which of course is pretty great really.
For more info on the Save A Cup scheme visit saveacup.co.uk