School pupils with a can-do attitude got the chance to try out Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme for the first time.

Eager kids from High Blantyre Primary School were invited to take part in a trial run using a reverse vending machine installed at Mo’s Premier Store in the South Lanarkshire town.

The eco-minded youngsters couldn’t bottle their excitement as they lined up in the sunshine to pop plastic, metal and glass bottles into the sleek black Sielaff machine in return for a voucher.

Shop owner Mo Razzaq, deputy vice-president of the Federation of Independent Retailers and a local Labour councillor, showed them how to use the machines to return their used juice containers for recycling.

Highlighting how the DRS will help local communities across Scotland, Mo, above, said: “The main benefit of a successful Deposit Return Scheme is the fact that littering will be greatly reduced.

“One of the biggest problems at the moment is with broken glass, which is harmful to children and pet dogs.

“If someone drops a bottle or can, people are more likely to pick it up and return it to a store for the financial reward.”

Mo added: “In Blantyre, reverse vending machines will have three donation buttons to benefit education establishments, environmental groups and sports clubs in the local area.

“Each month, a different recipient will be chosen from each of these groups to receive donations made via the machines.”

Mo also invited Dr Susan Lindner-Kelly, below, Chairperson of the Friends of the Calder environmental group and founder of the Bonnie Blantyre community initiative – winner of a Keep Scotland Beautiful Award –  to give the machine a spin.

A crew from BBC Radio 4 environment programme Costing the Earth was on hand to hear what the kids – who received slushies from the shop as a reward for their efforts – thought of the machine.

Mo, Susan and Kerra McKinnie from Circularity Scotland were also interviewed by the BBC radio team for a feature about the Deposit Return Scheme.

Under the scheme launching on March 1, 2024 people will be able to return eligible plastic, aluminium and glass drink containers in return for the 20p deposit they paid on each item.

The deposit is paid back by voucher over the counter or from a Reverse Vending Machine when the customer takes their empty to a return point for recycling. 

Susan - who founded Bonnie Blantyre - also worked with the community in 2019 to trial the DRS at the store.

The group appealed for people to donate used bottles and cans to the school. Pupils recycled items using the machine and turned them into money for a vital local charity, The Haven, which supports families affected by life-limiting illness. More than £200 was raised - turning rubbish into funding that made a real difference. 

Susan said: "It was nice to bring some of the schoolchildren we worked with back in 2019 to recycle bottles four years later. As a group with an environmental focus, we recognise the importance of encouraging recycling and reducing litter on our streets".