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Gravesend school install EcoVend 'reverse' vending machine


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A Kent secondary school is one of the first in the country to install a device that works like a vending machine – but in reverse.

Pupils from St George's Church of England School in Gravesend can claim house points or a 5p drink discount every time they feed the device an empty plastic bottle or aluminium can.

Year 10 pupil Zoe Tutt demonstrates the simplicity of the machine

Created by ACM Environmental Ltd, the EcoVend is the first step in changing the way people think about recycling.

To use the device, pupils load empty containers into the chute, the bottle or can is scanned before being crushed and then a reward voucher is printed.

According to Travis Way, managing director or ACM, there are around 18 million plastic bottles used every year, and only 50% of those are recycled.

The school in Meadow Road is one of the first schools in the country to use the machine in one if its canteens.

Head teacher Matt Lillie said: "We're really fortunate to have the machine in our school.

The machine has proved popular with pupils
The machine has proved popular with pupils

"It's good to see modern technology used so efficiently to engage young people with recycling.

"They enjoy it and I think it's going to have a huge impact on the school environment and the thoughts of the children around recycling.

"We talk a lot about recycling in school, but to actually have something that makes it a little bit more fun and engaging, that's interactive and informative helps teach our students as to what plastic does to the planet when not disposed of properly.

"I think it's a great device and if it can be much more wide spread and go to other schools, that would be fantastic."

Pupils have begun to reap the benefits of the scheme by cashing in on discounted lunchtime goods and scoring points for their houses.

Year 10 pupils Zoe Tutt using the machine the reap the benefits
Year 10 pupils Zoe Tutt using the machine the reap the benefits

Some have even started hunting for discarded bottles and cans around the school grounds to capitalise on the rewards.

Year 10 pupil George Duffort said: "It has so many benefits knowing that what we're doing is saving the world in some ways.

"The fact it links in with our stewardship values, being a Church of England School, is really great.

"There are loads of facts and figures on the machine, which really makes us think about the environment.

"I'd love to see this sort of thing everywhere, and I think everyone would."

"It helps me consider where I am putting my rubbish, and what impact my actions have when it comes to recycling."

Year 10 pupil Zoe Tutt said: "I think its a really good piece of tech that we can use to make the world cleaner as a generation.

"We can use it as a way to physically see how we're helping.

"It makes me feel quite proud when I use the machine. It helps me consider where I am putting my rubbish, and what impact my actions have when it comes to recycling."

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend

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