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13 Aug 2022

Bus Éireann and Grow Mental Health launch reverse vending machine at Letterkenny bus station


Reverse vending machines collect empty bottles and cans

Bus Éireann and Grow Mental Health launch reverse vending machine at Letterkenny bus station

Hugh Bonner, Kieran McShea and Jackie Herron of Bus Éireann unveiling the new reverse vending machines at Letterkenny bus station. Picture Clive Wasson

Bus Éireann customers in Donegal are being encouraged to return their plastic bottles and aluminium drinks cans to the newly-installed reverse vending machine in Letterkenny bus station.

Reverse vending machines assist in reducing single-use plastics while helping Ireland meet EU targets and promote a wider circular economy.

Bus Éireann says it has fully committed to the forthcoming deposit return scheme by introducing its first-ever reverse vending machine trial at Letterkenny bus station and at Busáras in Dublin with plans to extend the trial to other stations around the country.

The company, which employs 80 people here and carries over 9,500 students in Donegal on school transport each school day, is one of the first transport operators in Ireland to introduce vending machines in their transport hubs.

There’s a charity element too – with €6,000 being donated to Grow Mental Health for the duration of the trial. This partnership follows on from a successful travel photo exhibition with stories of hope and recovery from Grow members and further promotes positive mental health and raises vital funds for Grow Mental Health.

Grow is one of Ireland’s longest-standing mental health charities, empowering and supporting over 1,000 people weekly, Grow Mental Health, which was set up in 1969, has recorded a 400% year-on-year increase in demand for services since the pandemic began.

The reverse vending machines are supplied by Irish company Sensi Ltd and are capable of collecting and storing between 200-400 items at a time depending on the volume. The machines can accept PET plastic bottles up to two litres in volume and aluminium cans up to 500ml in volume. 

The cans and bottles are collected and recycled by Bus Éireann’s waste contractor. It is hoped the introduction of reverse vending machines in Bus Éireann stations will help the company achieve a 70% recycling rate by 2030 as part of our overall sustainability strategy Driving Change 2021-2030.

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