Evian serves recycling ace at Wimbledon with digital return scheme for water bottles
05 Jul 2022 --- Evian and Reward4Waste have partnered to create a digital return scheme (DRS) for Wimbledon to boost water bottle recycling at the ongoing tennis championships. Outdoor sporting events where hydration is vital significantly contribute to the consumption of plastic bottles, estimated at 7.7 billion annually in the UK.
The mineral water brand wanted a reward-based initiative to explore the DRS’ potential for user engagement and interaction and partnered with Reward4Waste to create the Return4Reward scheme. It is Evian’s first-ever digital recycling reward project.
Catchphrased “scan, recycle, win,” users can enter a draw to win two pairs of tickets to the Wimbledon 2023 Women’s Finals, one of the most iconic summer events in the UK, by scanning the QR code on the recycling points and EAN barcode on Evian drinks containers and then recycling. Return points can be found throughout the grounds and in the Wimbledon town center.
Preparing for a smash
Discussing the difficulties this project presented and how they were overcome, Rachel Warren, marketing director at Reward4Waste, and Tony McGurk, chairman at Reward4Waste, tell PackagingInsights that the “challenge was to create a hybrid solution that supports QR codes and standard EAN barcodes on Evian Centenary bottles, using the existing Reward4Waste platform and deploy it in less than three months.”
“Normally we validate a unique code (serialization) using our back-end technology which recognizes its identity and in the case of DRS we would use the unique codes to stop potential double spends,” they say.
“With the Evian project, we give every entrant the opportunity to enter a maximum of five times in a 24-hour period using recycling bins across the grounds and in the Wimbledon town center. Within these five entries, we would be able to identify any suspicious activity.”
Another challenge was communicating the initiative to consumers, as Evian was not able to put any information about it on the water bottle itself. “This [challenge] meant we had to work hard to create awareness on our social media platforms to communicate the initiative. On our other initiatives, it is unlikely this will be a barrier and we have had the ability to use strong consumer comms to drive awareness,” add Warren and McGurk.
Matching the game
To fit the occasion, a hawk-eye animation with the sound of a racket shot will be displayed within the app. An “IN” tick will appear on the phone screen, similar to a successful line challenge to indicate that the recycling has been registered.
The animation concludes with the user being told, “You’re in the draw.” Evian believes that this novel user experience will enable them to learn whether an engaging digital platform can help to encourage consumers to recycle.
This program also contributes to Evian’s long-term goal of becoming a 100% circular brand by 2025. The Reward4Waste scheme complements other projects they are working on such as Bottles made from Bottles, that consist of 100% recycled PET, and the Evian 5l (re)new water dispenser, which reduces plastic use by 60% compared to a single-use bottle.
European Deposit Return Schemes
According to Petcore Europe, two out of every three PET bottles in Europe are collected for recycling. Collection rates in some countries exceed 90%, owing primarily to the successful implementation of DRS. Due to this, the association has advocated for greater public access to DRS and has encouraged a ban on the landfilling and incineration of PET bottles.
Christian Crépet, executive director of Petcore Europe elaborated to us on being in favor of DRS, saying: “The problem with curbside recycling is that there’s limited monitoring of what is thrown away. It could be PET or it could be PS, it could be any type of plastic. The DRS monitoring is about counting bottles accurately, it is straightforward whereas otherwise, it is not.”
“Of course, we’re very happy with DRS. With DRS, using the barcodes and QR codes, you know it’s going to be the same material. For this Wimbledon DRS system too, it makes it much easier to recycle on a big scale.”
Sports stadium sustainability
In related news, Ball and Anheuser-Busch announced a collaboration in February to introduce a recyclable Ball Aluminum Cup to Super Bowl guests in the US to ameliorate waste problems at the event.
According to the partners, the aluminum cups, which are also available to fans at major events and venues across the country, as well as for purchase online and at mass retailers, demonstrated their commitment to advancing environmental sustainability.
By Mieke Meintjes
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