Ocado has announced what it calls a ‘world first’ trial of technology that could help underline a digital deposit return scheme (DDRS).
The technology is being hailed by the grocer as a ‘breakthrough moment’ in how retailers tackle single-use plastic.
It comes off the back of calls from industry and campaign groups waiting for the UK government to set out its strategy for DDRS.
For the trial, which will last three months, Ocado Retail has partnered with Welsh-based firm Polytag.
Around 1.6 million of Ocado’s fully recyclable milk bottles feature ‘unique-every-time’ QR codes which households can scan with their smartphones to receive detailed recycling information.
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DDRS requires a unique QR code on every packaged item before it is available for purchase. Once the item is used, households are able to use their smartphones to scan the code and discard the item in their existing recycling bin, while redeeming the deposit into their mobile wallet.
Ocado said it hoped governments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland would take the trial into account in their bid to reverse the UK’s stagnating recycling rates.
“As the world’s largest online supermarket, we champion the use of innovative technology as we strive to become the UK’s most sustainable grocery retailer,” Ocado Retail senior packaging and sustainability manager Laura Fernandez told The Grocer.
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